Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
Toy balls that are meant to absorb water and grow to 400 times their normal size have been voluntarily recalled after the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) identified the toys as hazards for children who may swallow them before they come into contact with water. CNN reports:
The CPSC said the marble-size toy can be swallowed, and once inside the stomach, it can expand and cause blockage in the small intestine. The toys do not show up on an x-ray and require surgery to be removed, according to the commission.
Nearly 95,000 Water Balz (round shape), Growing Skulls (skull shape), H2O Orbs “Despicable Me” (round shape) and Fabulous Flowers (flower shape) toys were sold in stores in the United States and Canada from 2010 to November 2012.
An 8-month-old Texas girl reportedly ingested a Water Balz last year and underwent surgery to remove the toy. The packaging states the toy “Grows to the Size of a Racquetball!”
Image: Water Balz, via http://www.cpsc.gov
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Thursday, December 6th, 2012
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is suing Baby Matters, LLC, a company that make so-called “infant recliners” after 5 infants have died while using them. Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill are the two models responsible for the deaths.
The Nap Nanny was recalled in 2010 due to entrapment and strangulation hazards, but was redesigned and allowed back on the market. The CPSC released the following statement about the lawsuit:
“CPSC is aware of four infants who died in Nap Nanny Generation Two recliners and a fifth death involved the Chill model.
To date, CPSC has received a total of over 70 additional incident reports of children nearly falling out of the product. The staff alleges that the products create a substantial risk of injury to the public.
CPSC staff filed the administrative complaint against Baby Matters, LLC after discussions with the company and its representatives failed to result in an adequate voluntary recall plan that would address the hazard posed by consumer use of the product in a crib or without the harness straps being securely fastened.
In July 2010, CPSC and Baby Matters, LLC issued a joint recall news release to announce an $80 coupon to Generation One owners toward the purchase of a newer model and improved instructions and warnings to consumers who owned the Generation Two model of Nap Nanny recliners.”
Image: Nap Nanny Generation 2, via http://www.cpsc.gov/
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Monday, November 26th, 2012
Federal officials from two agencies are warning that “baby sleep positioners,” mat- or wedge-shaped bolsters that are supposed to encourage babies to sleep on their backs, are actually quite dangerous and are responsible for at least 13 deaths in the past 15 years. The New York Times has more:
“We urge parents and caregivers to take our warning seriously and stop using these sleep positioners,” Inez Tenenbaum, the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in a statement.
The sleep positioner devices come primarily in two forms. One is a flat mat with soft bolsters on each side. The other, known as a wedge-style positioner, looks very similar but has an incline, keeping a child in a very slight upright position.
Makers of the devices claim that by keeping infants in a specific position as they sleep, they can prevent several conditions, including acid reflux and flat head syndrome, a deformation caused by pressure on one part of the skull. Many are also marketed to parents as a way to help reduce a child’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, which kills thousands of babies every year, most between the ages of 2 months and 4 months.
But the devices have never been shown in studies to prevent SIDS, and they may actually raise the likelihood of sudden infant death, officials say. One of the leading risk factors for sudden infant death is placing a baby on his or her stomach at bedtime, and health officials have routinely warned parents to lay babies on their backs. They even initiated a “Back to Sleep” campaign in the 1990s, which led to a sharp reduction in sudden infant deaths.
With the positioner devices, if an infant rolls onto the stomach, the child’s mouth and nose can press up against a bolster or some other part of the device, leading to suffocation. Even if placed on the back, a child can move up or down in the positioner, “entrapping its face against a bolster or becoming trapped between the positioner and the crib side,” Gail Gantt, a nurse consultant with the Food and Drug Administration, said in an e-mail. Or the child might scoot down the wedge in a way that causes the child’s mouth and nose to press into the device.
Image: Sleeping baby, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a new warning Tuesday about the dangers of laundry gel packets, saying that if children bite or even handle them, serious health problems may result. This new report follows a similar warning issued in September, which expressed concern for children because of the packets’ similar appearance to toys and teething products.
From the CPSC’s statement:
“In 2012 alone, CPSC staff has learned of about 500 incidents involving children and adults who were injured by the product. Children have required hospitalization from ingesting the product due to loss of consciousness, excessive vomiting, drowsiness, throat swelling, and difficulty breathing (requiring intubation). Eye contact with detergent from ruptured packets has also resulted in medical treatment for severe irritation and temporary vision loss due to ocular burns.
Because these packets dissolve quickly and release highly concentrated toxic chemicals when contacted with water, wet hands, or saliva, consumers are strongly urged to always handle laundry packets carefully and with dry hands.”
Image: Laundry gel packets, via USCPSC on Flickr
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Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted unanimously to approve a new set of mandatory safety standards for infant swings in which a powered mechanism drives the motion of the swing. The move was in response to more than 350 incidents involving swings reported between May of 2011 and May of 2012, two of which resulted in infant fatalities.
Among the new recommendations:
- a stronger, more explicit warning label to prevent slump-over deaths. The warning advises consumers to use a swing in the most reclined position until an infant is 4 months old and can hold up its head without help;
- a stability test that prevents the swing from tipping over;
- a test that prevents unintentional folding;
- tests on restraint systems, which are intended to prevent slippage and breakage of the restraints during use;
- the cradle swing surface to remain relatively flat, while in motion, and while at rest;
- electrically-powered swings to be designed to prevent battery leakage and overheating.;
- toy mobiles to be designed to ensure that toys do not detach when pulled;
- swings with seats angles greater than 50 degrees to have shoulder strap restraints; and
- dynamic and static load requirements to ensure that the infant swing can handle specified loads without breaking.
The new standards take effect May 7, 2013.
Image: Infant swing, via Shutterstock
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