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Kidsí Safety
Nancy A. Cowles is the Executive Director of Kids In Danger, and is dedicated to protecting children by improving children's product safety. The organizationís mission is to promote the development of safer products, advocate for children and educate parents and caregivers about dangerous products.
1. How did Kids in Danger come about?

KID was founded in 1998 by the parents of 16 month-old Danny Keysar, who died in his Chicago childcare home when a portable crib collapsed around his neck. It turned out that the crib had been recalled five years before and that Danny was the fifth child to die in this crib. Dannyís parents and KIDís mission is to promote the development of safer childrenís products, advocate for children and education the public about dangerous childrenís products.

2. What types of safety issues should parents be concerned of in regards to toys?

An average of 2-3 childrenís products, including toys are recalled each week for various dangers, some after deaths or injuries. Parents can stay informed about recalls and other product safety news by signing up for our monthly email alert, which includes recalls, at www.KidsInDanger.org.

Here are just a few of the top hazards for childrenís products:

Unsafe Sleeping Environments

Make sure your infant and toddler have a safe place to sleep. Check all cribs for recalls, loose or missing hardware or slats. Donít use a crib with slats far enough apart to let a soda can pass through or with corner posts or cutouts that might catch a childís clothing. Your old crib from the attic will not be safe for your child. Remove all soft bedding, donít use adult sheets on a crib mattress and donít put babies in a bed with older children.

Choking Hazards

The biggest threat from toys to younger children is choking. Watch out for small or breakable parts. Do not buy small toys or toys with small parts for children under the age of 3 as these toys are choking hazards. If a toy fits into a toilet paper tube, it is too small. Balloons and small balls are especially dangerous for young children. Be careful too with older siblingsí toys.

Lead Hazards

Lead has been found in a shocking array of products, everything from vinyl bibs to expensive childrenís jewelry. Lead is especially scary to protect against because you canít actually see the danger. New laws banning its use in childrenís products and requiring testing should eliminate much of it in toys, although the main source comes from old housing stock.


Millions of toys with tiny magnets were recalled after at least one death and over three dozen children were seriously injured. Magnets, if ingested, can stick together across intestines and cause extreme damage and even death. New standards should eliminate the hazard in new toys, but millions of the older type building toys are probably still in use.

3. Where can parents find information about recalled toys?

Parents can visit recalls.gov or contact the agencies listed below to check for recalls or other product hazards.

For most childrenís products:
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

For car seats:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

For foods and medicines:
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

4. What should parents do if one of their childrenís toys has been recalled?

If a parent realizes that one of their childrenís products has been recalled, the item should be removed from use, and consult the recall notice at CPSC.gov for further instructions on how to follow through on the remedy. Parents then should alert their family and friends to the specific hazard. If a product has caused any injuries or damage, report it to the manufacturer and to the CSPC.

5. How can a parent tell if a toy has been recalled?

The best way to find out if you have any recalled childrenís products in your home is to inventory your childrenís products and compare them to the CPSC list of recalls (www.recalls.gov). Sign up for recall alerts at www.cspc.gov and www.KidsInDanger.org, and check these websites often for new information. Also, when available, fill out your name and address on registration cards that accompany new products or register your product online. This is often the only way the manufacturer can contact you directly in the event of a product recall. When shopping, ask to see the storeís recall postings.

6. How can parents choose safer products?

Parents can choose safer products by educating themselves about the various hazards of childrenís products. KIDís website is an educational resource with publications and materials available for free download. Parents also can help educate each other by sharing this lifesaving information with other parents and childcare providers. In addition, parents can take action by encouraging retailers to sign up for email alerts from CPSC.gov or Kids In Danger to stay informed of recalls and by telling elected officials that they must make childrenís product safety a priority.

7. What kinds of accidents are associated with toys?

Many types of injuries are associated with childrenís products. An average of 81 children under age 5 die annually in incidents associated with nursery products and an estimated 66,400 children of the same age were rushed to U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2006 for injuries associated with nursery products. For toys, the number of injuries requiring emergency room visits is over 250,000 a year. Most importantly, the vast majority of these injuries and deaths could have been prevented. Parents can help protect their children from these dangers by learning about the issue, staying informed about product recalls, and speaking out about the issue with friends and family, retailers, and elected officials.

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