Posts Tagged ‘
child safety ’
Thursday, July 26th, 2012
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a stop-sale order for Buckyballs, a magnetic stress ball toy that is meant for adults but has caused dangerous health problems in children. The ban is despite efforts by Buckyballs’ efforts to prevent the product from getting into children’s hands; the company’s website still has a statement reading, “A government agency (the Consumer Product Safety Commission) is saying they should be recalled because children occasionally get ahold of them. This is unfair. We market exclusively to adults. We are vigorously defending our right to market these products you love.”
Reuters reports on the CPSC’s decision:
The commission ordered distributor Maxfield and Oberton Holdings of New York to halt sales because injuries to children who had swallowed them had continued to rise, the CPSC said in a complaint.
“Notwithstanding the labeling, warnings and efforts taken by (Maxfield and Oberton), ingestion incidents continued to rise because warnings are ineffective,” the CPSC said. It said the magnets presented a “substantial product hazard.”
Buckyballs are small, powerful round rare earth magnets that are sold as toys and desktop accessories. When children swallow them they can pinch or trap intestines and require surgery to remove, the CPSC said.
Since they went on the market in 2009, numerous incidents involving children have been reported. In January 2011, a 4-year-old boy had his intestine perforated after he swallowed three magnets he thought were chocolate candy, the complaint said.
Although the commission issued a safety alert in November, it has received more than a dozen reports since then of children ingesting the magnets, with many requiring surgery, it said.
Image: Buckyballs, via http://www.ohgizmo.com/
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced it is changing the rules regarding how child car seats are attached to cars, affecting mostly older toddlers and children over age 3. The system known as LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), which has become standard in many cars and which makes car seats easier to install, cannot be guaranteed to be safe if the car seat and child’s combined weight exceeds 65 pounds. USA Today has more:
Joseph Colella, one of five child-safety advocates who petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to change the rule, says the anchor requirements are based on old child seats and outdated recommendations on how long kids should be in child seats.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers sought the change in the rule because limits weren’t factoring in how much seats weigh. Colella says carmakers aren’t able to guarantee the safety of heavier kids given the strength of LATCH anchors. The alliance was not available for comment.
The advocates say the minimum strength requirements should be increased.
LATCH use and awareness are already low. A study last summer by the advocacy group Safe Kids Worldwide found child-seat checkpoint technicians were using the lower anchors to attach seats only about 30% of the time. And Safe Kids found just 30% of parents use the top tether straps, which prevent head injuries in crashes.
“Disconnecting tethers when their use is needed … could lead to a tragedy,” says Stephanie Tombrello of advocacy group SafetyBeltSafe, one of the petitioners.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that children use car seats until age 8 has apparently led to manufacturers making different, sometimes heavier seats.
Image: Baby in a car seat, via Shutterstock.
Monday, March 12th, 2012
A number of brands of small magnetic balls that are designed to alleviate stress in adults are causing serious problems for children, because kids are swallowing them and requiring serious abdominal surgery as a result. CNN.com reports:
They are powerful pea-size magnets marketed as stress relievers for harried adults but called a safety risk for children by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The magnets are sold under the brand names Buckyballs and Nanospheres among others.
“We want parents to be aware of the danger associated with these innocent-looking magnets,” safety commission Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said in a November statement. “The potential for serious injury and death if multiple magnets are swallowed demands that parents and medical professionals be aware of this hidden hazard and know how to treat a child in distress.”
The Consumer Product Safety Commission then reported 22 incidents involving the magnets from 2009 through October. “Of the reported incidents, 17 involved magnet ingestion and 11 required surgical removal of the magnets. When a magnet has to be removed surgically, it often requires the repair of the child’s damaged stomach and intestines,” the commission statement said.
The Buckyballs website has posted a public service announcement video reminding parents that their product is not intended for children. Five warnings appear on the product’s packaging as well.
Image: Buckyballs, via http://everyjoe.com/
Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
A single year of confirmed cases of child maltreatment–including physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect–costs the U.S. government $124 in expenses ranging from health care costs to productivity loss to criminal justice and special education costs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in a new report.
The report, which was published in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect, The International Journal, also found that the lifetime costs associated with each maltreated child (if that child survives) is $210,012, which is similar to the costs associated with major health problems like stroke or type 2 diabetes.
From a CDC press release:
Past research suggests that child maltreatment is a complicated problem, and so its solutions cannot be simple. An individual parent or caregiver’s behavior is influenced by a range inter-related factors such as how they were raised, their parenting skills, the level of stress in their life, and the living conditions in their community. Because of this complexity, it is critical to invest in effective strategies that touch on all sectors of society.
“Federal, state, and local public health agencies as well as policymakers must advance the awareness of the lifetime economic impact of child maltreatment and take immediate action with the same momentum and intensity dedicated to other high profile public health problems –in order to save lives, protect the public’s health, and save money,” said Dr. Linda C. Degutis, [director of CDC′s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control].
Several programs have demonstrated reductions in child maltreatment and have great potential to reduce the human and economic toll on our society. Several examples of effective programs include:
- Nurse–Family Partnership, an evidence-based community health program. Partners a registered nurse with a first-time mother during pregnancy and continues through the child’s second birthday.
- Early Start, provides coordinated, family-centered system of services: California’s response to federal legislation providing early intervention services to infant and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
- Triple P, a multilevel parenting and family support system: Aims to prevent severe emotional and behavioral disturbances in children by promoting positive and nurturing relationships between parent and child.
Image: Hundred dollar bills, via Shutterstock.
Friday, December 16th, 2011
A number of lawsuits have been filed in the past year against Bumbo, the makers of a molded plastic chair designed to support babies as they learn to sit upright. The most recent, Reuters reports, involves a family whose 9-month-old child suffered a skull fracture after falling out of the chair, which had been placed on a table. The new suit comes after a 2007 recall, which resulted in the company adding warning labels to the product, and a November warning from the Consumer Product Safety Commission that placing the seats on elevated surfaces place children at risk.
The most recent lawsuit alleges that Bumbo has not taken extensive enough steps to make their product safer–the warning label simply cautions against placing the seats on elevated surfaces–and that the retail chain Toys ‘R Us was negligent in stocking an item that is known to have safety risks.
Bumbo argues that the instructions that come with the seat are clear, and that if used as intended, the product is perfectly safe. “The Bumbo baby seat is a safe product for infants when it is used as intended: on the floor and never on an elevated surface,” the company said in a statement. “Children should always been closely supervised when they are in the Bumbo seat.”
But Ross Cunningham, the attorney for the family of the 9-month-old, says in the lawsuit that there are a number of safety precautions that Bumbo could and should have taken to prevent injuries: “Specifically, Bumbo could have incorporated any combination of the following design changes: made the Bumbo Baby Sitter wider at the base, raised the side and back walls of the seat, installed a bulbous pommel on top of the post in between the child’s legs, and incorporated a safety harness, seatbelt or other securing device…that would sit low and tight across the child’s hips. These, and possibly other design improvements, would have prevented a child like (Colby) Ferrell from falling out of the Bumbo Baby Sitter.”
(Image via: http://bumbo.com/)