Report Finds Fewer Children’s Products Recalled, but Injuries Up

A new report reveals that while fewer children’s products are being recalled, the number of injuries blamed on those recalled products has increased.

The number of children’s products recalled in 2011 dropped by almost one-quarter; however 32% of those recalls involved injury reports, said Deseret News, citing the just-released report issued by safety advocacy group, Kids in Danger.

Kids In Danger said it was unable to explain the drop in recalls, “because of the secrecy surrounding the recall process. We don’t know if CPSC (the Consumer Product Safety Commission) looked to recall more products and were unable to persuade manufacturers, or if this represents a decrease in dangerous products in the marketplace. It is clear that recalls for lead violations and drop-side cribs were down, just as new requirements for standards and testing came into effect.”

According to the CPSC, the number of products that are fixed or replaced is “largely unchanged the past few years,” according to a USA Today article, said Deseret News. “Only 15 percent to 30 percent of products are sent back or repaired, but some high-profile recalls get higher response rates,” the CPSC added.

The Kids in Danger report stated that 121 of the products recalled by CPSC were children’s products and nursery products—the largest category—accounted for 30%, second only to toys at 26%, said Deseret News. The “most injurious” product before recall was a young girls’ Keds shoe “with decorative stars that caused 27 reports of lacerations,” according to Kids In Danger.

The report cited three deaths, two involved strangulations with a nursery monitor and one was due to entrapment in a bunk bed. Also, three of the recalled products were only recalled following no less than 100 reports, said Kids In Danger. Those three recalls involved a swing set, a remote control helicopter, and a pogo stick, wrote Deseret News.

Kids in Danger pointed out that, “there are many products on SaferProducts.gov with serious injuries that have not been recalled.” SaferProducts.gov is a CPSC-sponsored site where consumers can report safety issues with products directly to the CSPC.

Kids In Danger also pointed out that three recalls involved 1 million or more units, which is actually down from 11 in the prior year. The largest recalls included a 1.7 million-unit recall of infant monitors that can cause strangulation and a 1.7 million-unit recall of toy workbenches and tools linked to so-called “near-misses” when pieces became stuck in toddlers’ throats.

Also, the CPSC imposed $3.9 million in fines to firms that violated safety regulations. This typically involved failing to report choking, poisoning, and drawstrings in clothing and included one fine for a firm selling a banned substance.

Deseret News said that part of the problem involves reaching the consumers who purchased the recalled or dangerous products. “Stores track shoppers’ purchases closely, but their ability to link a person with a purchase depends on the payment method, whether the consumer has a store loyalty card and privacy issues,” said Kevin Stemeckert, retail research chief at the technology advisory firm, Gartner Group.

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