The Biggest Toy, Clothing, and Gear Recalls of 2014

Millions of products were recalled this year, so it is important to stay on top of what your family owns. Learn about the biggest recalls of 2014 that directly affect babies and children. This year, car seats made up nearly half of our top 10 list, which also includes mass-market items such as a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy and a popular Walmart doll.  If you have any one of these products, be sure to click on the link provided and follow the guidelines for return or repair. Sign up for our recall newsletter so you are alerted when something is recalled that could affect your family.

Combi10. Combi Child Restraints

Date: January 3, 2014

Company/Brand: Combi USA, Inc.

The danger: The harness webbing fails to meet minimum breaking strength requirements. In the event of a crash, a child may not be remain adequately secured, increasing the risk of injury.

Sold at: Nationwide

H&M leggings9. H&M Girls’ Leggings

Date: May 15, 2014

Company/Brand: H&M Hennes & Mauritz L.P.

The danger: A metal part on the belt can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children. There has been one report of a choking incident in the United Kingdom, but no reports of consumer incidents or injuries related to the use of these products in the U.S.

Sold at: H&M stores nationwide and online at HM.com from August 2012 to April 2014 for between $3 and $15.

Vera Bradley Rattle8. Vera Bradley Bear Ring Rattles and Bunny Toys 

Date: March 19, 2014

Company/Brand: Vera Bradley Designs Inc.

The danger: The pom-pom tail can detach from the body of the bear rattle and the bunny, posing a choking hazard to young children. Vera Bradley has received two reports that the pom-pom tail detached from the product. No injuries have been reported.

Sold at: Nationwide from September 2012 to January 2014.

Walmart Doll recall7. My Sweet Love/My Sweet Baby Cuddle Care Baby Doll

Date: March 25, 2014

Company/Brand: Tak Ngai Electronic Toys Co., LTD

The danger: The circuit board in the chest of the doll can overheat, causing the surface of the doll to get hot, posing a burn hazard to the consumer. Walmart has received 12 reports of incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters to the thumb.

Sold at: Walmart stores nationwide from August 2012 through March 2014 for $20.

Brita Water Bottles6. Brita Children’s Water Bottle 

Date: August 19, 2014

Company/Brand: BRITA LP of Oakland, Calif.

The danger: The lid can break into pieces with sharp points, posing a laceration hazard. There have been 35 reports of lids breaking or cracking. No injuries have been reported.

Sold at: Alaska Housewares, Associated Food Stores, Bartell Drug, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Quidsi, Royal Ahold, Shopko, Target, US Navy Exchange, Walmart Stores, and online at Amazon.com, Drugstore.com and Target.com. Hello Kitty bottles were sold from February 2014 through July 2014. Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob Square Pants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bottles were sold from June 2013 through July 2014. The bottles sold for about $13 to $19.

Evenflo booster seat5. Evenflo Child Seat Buckles 

Date: April 4, 2014

Company/Brand: Evenflo Company

The danger: The buckle may become stuck in a latched position, making it difficult to remove a child from the seat. This could prove critical to a child’s safety in the case of an emergency. No injuries have been reported.

Sold at: Nationwide.

Graco Snug Ride recall4. Graco Rear-Facing Child Restraints

Date: June 30, 2014

Company/Brand: Graco Children’s Products

The danger: The defect involves difficulty in unlatching the harness buckle. In some cases, the buckle becomes stuck in a latched condition so that it cannot be opened by depressing the buckle’s release button. It may be difficult to remove the child from the restraint, increasing the risk of injury in the event of a vehicle crash, fire, or other emergency, in which a prompt exit from the vehicle is required.

Sold at: Nationwide.

Hello Kitty Whistle3. Hello Kitty Birthday Lollipop Whistles 

Date: November 10, 2014

Company/Brand: McDonald’s Corp., of Oakbrook, Ill.

The danger: Components inside of the whistle can detach, posing choking and aspiration hazards to young children. McDonald’s has received two reports of children who coughed out pieces of the whistle that they had sucked into their mouths, including one child who received medical attention.

Sold at: McDonald’s restaurants nationwide from October 2014 through the first week of November 2014 with Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals.

Graco logo2. Graco Toddler and Booster Child Restraints

Date: February 10, 2014

Company/Brand: Graco Children’s Products 

The danger: There has been difficulty in unlatching the harness buckle. In some cases, the buckle becomes stuck in a latched condition so that it cannot be opened by depressing the buckle’s release button. It may be difficult to remove the child from the restraint, increasing the risk of injury in the event of a vehicle crash, fire, or other emergency, in which a prompt exit from the vehicle is required. There have been no injuries reported.

Sold at: Nationwide.

Graco stroller1. Graco Strollers 

Date: November 20, 2014

Company/Brand: Graco Children’s Products

The danger: The folding hinge on the sides of the stroller can pinch a child’s finger, posing a laceration or amputation hazard. Graco has received 11 reports of finger injuries including six reports of fingertip amputation, four reports of partial-fingertip amputation and one finger laceration.

Sold at: Target, Toys R Us, Walmart and other retail stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com, Walmart.com and other online retailers for about $40-70 for the stroller and about $140-170 for the Travel System

Product Recalls: What to Do
Product Recalls: What to Do
Product Recalls: What to Do

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Just How Unaffordable Is Child Care in the U.S.?

Child in Day CareChild Care Aware of America has released it’s 8th annual Parents and the High Cost of Child Care report—and the results are sobering. According to this year’s report, child care in the United States can cost up to $12, 280 a year for a 4-year-old, and even more—up to $14,508—for babies.

“Quality, affordable child care provides critical support to our nation’s workforce and is one of the earliest learning settings our children will enter,” said Lynette Fraga, Ph.D., executive director of Child Care Aware® of America, in a press release about this year’s findings. “It’s time to address the disparity between high care costs and low provider wages, and find a solution to what has become a crisis.”

Among other things, the report looked at center-based care “based on the cost of child care as a percentage of state median income for a two-parent family” and found that in 2013, the 10 states with the least-affordable child care for infants in fulltime care were, in order: New York, Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Washington, Illinois, Nevada, California, and Kansas. For 4-year-olds, the least-affordable states were New York, Vermont, Oregon, Nevada, Minnesota, Colorado, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine.
Parents and the High Cost of Child Care

Other key findings in this year’s report:

Parents pay more for child care (for two kids) than they do for their mortgage in 23 states, plus Washington, D.C.; and parents who have both a baby and a 4-year-old in center-based child care pay more for that care than they do for rent in every state. And in every region of the U.S., families spend more on child care fees for an infant in center-based child care than they spend on food.

Tell us: How much do you spend on child care?

After Baby: I'm The Primary Breadwinner
After Baby: I'm The Primary Breadwinner
After Baby: I'm The Primary Breadwinner

 

Image of child in day care: Shutterstock; Graphic: Child Care Aware of America

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Does a Higher Birth Weight = Better Academic Performance?

Heavier Newborns Do Better In SchoolCan birth weight affect your child’s future academic performance? A new large-scale study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University says yes.

According to a news release:

The research suggests that babies who weigh more at birth have higher test scores from third through eighth grade. The relationship is apparent even among twins; heavier-born twins have higher average test scores in third through eighth grade than their lighter-born twin.

Even the advantage of attending a higher quality school was not enough to compensate for the disadvantage of a lower birth rate, according to the study. The low birth-rate advantage held up across the board for all children — regardless of race, socioeconomic status, enrichment experiences provided by parents, maternal education and a host of other factors.

Researchers merged birth data and school records of all children born in Florida between 1992 and 2002 — that’s more than 1.3 million kids — to reach these conclusions. However, in an article in The New York Times, study co-author David N. Figlio said this is most likely the first of many more studies that will be conducted on this subject, mentioning that weight may just be “a proxy for other aspects of fetal health that more time in the womb would not improve.”

It’s also important to note that babies born at a higher birth weight can also often be, depending on their weight, at an increased risk for a number of other health complications. And birth weight is definitely not the end all, be all for your child’s success in school—take a look at these 15 ways you can boost your child’s success in school.

Your Baby Is Almost Here: Week 35 of Pregnancy to Birth
Your Baby Is Almost Here: Week 35 of Pregnancy to Birth
Your Baby Is Almost Here: Week 35 of Pregnancy to Birth

Photo of little girl courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Guess What Helps Your Baby’s Memory? A New Study Says…

Study Suggests Babies Remember Positive Memories Better Than Negative

The way you talk to your baby may affect what he remembers, new research suggests.

According to a study published in Infant Behavior and Development, researchers at Brigham Young University have determined that babies are more likely to remember things when they’re paired with positive associations rather than negative ones.

According to a news release, researchers monitored the babies’ eye movements and how long they looked at a test image.

The babies were set in front of a flat paneled monitor in a closed off partition and then exposed to a person on screen speaking to them with either a happy, neutral or angry voice. Immediately following the emotional exposure, they were shown a geometric shape.

To test their memory, the researchers did follow-up tests 5 minutes later and again one day later. In the follow-up test, babies were shown two side-by-side geometric shapes: a brand new one, and the original one from the study.

The researchers found that by recording both the amount of time babies looked at each image and how many times they looked from one image to another, the babies who had images paired with negative voices couldn’t remember the shape, but when the shapes were paired with a pleasant voice they could remember significantly more.

“We think what happens is that the positive affect heightens the babies’ attentional system and arousal,” lead author of the study Ross Flom said in the news release. “By heightening those systems, we heighten their ability to process and perhaps remember this geometric pattern.”

Babies’ memories start to develop as soon as they’re born. Follow more tips to boost your baby’s memory during her first year.

Playing With Baby: Memory Building Activities
Playing With Baby: Memory Building Activities
Playing With Baby: Memory Building Activities

Photo of a happy baby courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Report: The Best Way to Treat Eczema in Kids Is…

Children Diagnosed With Eczema On the RiseFor the roughly 10 percent of U.S. children who have been diagnosed with eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, a topical skin treatment is the best way to manage the chronic condition, a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests.

While many parents have feared treating their children with topical steroid creams, the AAP reports that they are safe and can be the most effective way to improve quality of life for children who are suffering.

A news release from the AAP states:

Treating atopic dermatitis is important because of the tremendous impact it has on the quality of life of children and their families. Managing the condition can include an action plan for families that includes recommendations on frequency of bathing, prescription medications, moisturizers and antihistamines.

An article published in The Wall Street Journal earlier this month posed the question, “Are You Bathing Your Baby Too Much?” While a number of factors can potentially lead to developing eczema, like genetics, environmental factors like how often your child is bathed can also play a role. The AAP currently recommends bathing your baby three times a week or less, however a study conducted by the market-research firm Mintel Group found that households reported using baby shampoos and bathing products closer to five times a week, according the WSJ.

Several studies as mentioned in Pediatrics have reported that eczema diagnoses among children are on the rise over the past several years, with 65 to 95 percent of eczema cases being diagnosed in children ages 1 to 5 years old.

Does your child have eczema? Read about this mom’s experience with her son’s severe eczema, and be sure to consult your healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding your child’s condition and treatment procedures.

How to Treat Eczema
How to Treat Eczema
How to Treat Eczema

Photo of baby with eczema courtesy of Shutterstock.

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