Dangerous Products: Heed the Recall

Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity JumperBaby Einstein recalled its Musical Motion Activity Jumper this week, 400,000 of them. According the recall notice, the problem is that “the ‘sun’ toy attachment on the activity jumper can rebound with force and injure the infant, posing an impact hazard.”

And inevitably, we got some pushback from our users for posting this information. Many of you appreciated the heads up, but others voiced the opinion that, if I may paraphrase, we’re all being a bit paranoid and overly careful, recalling products that plenty of people are using safely and happily. For instance, one of our fans posted this to our Facebook page:

My son used this exact one less than a year ago and never had any incidents. I feel bad for the babies who got hurt, but perhaps we should all transform our homes and everything in it to padded walls and nothing else. Too many unnecessary recalls if you ask me.

Yes, it’s true. There are a lot of children’s products recalled. And it’s true that  we didn’t wear helmets when we rode our bikes as kids, and I ate frightening amounts of sugary cereal back in the ’70s and ’80s. More recently, my older child survived the drop-down crib we dutifully discarded before #2 was born. We even had a bumper before we knew better.

Phew. As plenty of sarcastic commenters would say: It’s a miracle we survived our childhoods.

Here’s the thing, though: Not everyone did.

Those activity jumpers? Sixty-one children have been injured from them, including bruises, face lacerations, and one 7-month-old who sustained a skull fracture. At least one adult was injured, too.

Sneer, if you’d like, about the fact that drop-side cribs were removed from the market. Thirty-two children reportedly died from them since 2000.

As for crib bumpers, 71 babies died from them between January 1990 and October 2012.

Those numbers are, of course, small–compared to the total number of kids who sleep in drop-down cribs or have crib bumpers or use Activity Jumpers. The numbers, though, are unfathomably, incomprehensibly high to those parents who lost children in utterly avoidable ways.

We can never create a world of assured safety or a house of padded walls. But that’s the point. There is so much we cannot possibly control, let’s try to be on top of those things we can. I do not want to be that parent who frets every time my child climbs a fence or rides her bike; I strive to encourage my kids to be brave, explore, experience their world. I also don’t ever want to be that parent who grieves every day for a lifetime because of a faulty product. Listen to those product-recall alerts. They usually include easy-to-follow, free solutions for fixing or replacing recalled items.

It’s just not worth the risk.

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