Posts Tagged ‘Consumer Product Safety Commission’

The Hidden Dangers of Button Batteries

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Sunday evening, immediately after putting our two year old to bed, my wife and I watched 60 Minutes and settled in to begin to enjoy what we thought would be a ‘relaxing’ evening.  Unfortunately, one of the lead stories that the program featured involved the dangers of ‘button batteries’.  These batteries are especially dangerous to small children, because, as I learned from the show, the electrical current of the battery, once stuck in the esophagus, literally burns through the tissue surrounding it, causing holes in the esophagus.  They are also, unfortunately, very easy to get stuck in a child’s throat.

My mind starting racing; “OK, what products do we have in the house that are powered by button batteries?”  My concern was well-justified, as the vast majority of these tragic incidents occur to children under the age of four.  Scouring the internet this morning, I found several articles warning the parents of small children about dangers they should heed.  Sadly, I also saw blogs from the parents, in which they recount how they lost their child because of such a tragedy.  These products are not the subject of recalls, mind you.  These are batteries found in everyday products that you may have in your home.  The damage can be permanent and may effect your child’s ability to eat and drink permanently.

I found a warning on-line from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), going all the way back to March of 1983, almost 30 years ago:

Technologic advances in electronic miniaturization have increased the availability of miniature (button) batteries in homes..in watches, calculators, cameras, hearing aids, and games. Although the vast majority of these button batteries, when accidentally swallowed, will pass through the person without any problem, occasional severe complications and even fatalities have been reported. Batteries may become lodged in the esophagus or intestine, slowly leaking alkaline electrolytes and causing an internal chemical burn.

Battery ingestions are preventable. Important prevention and treatment information is available based on preliminary results of a National Button Battery Ingestion Study conducted by Dr. Toby Litovitz, director of the National Capital Poison Center, of 62 button battery ingestions reported to the National Capital Poison Center in the past 9 months, 59% involved batteries that were left out loose rather than properly discarded or stored; 39% of the batteries were in the product they were intended for, and removed from the product. Half of these batteries were in hearing aids.

Fast forward to the present, and the warnings are all over the place.  In a recent article from examiner.com out of Baltimore, the urgency of getting the button battery out of the child as soon as possible is emphasized, due to how quickly damage can occur to the child’s throat:

The research also found there is only a two hour window to get the batteries out when lodged in the esophagus, which is less time than previously reported. Delayed removal can result in serious injuries such as tissue tears, burning, and internal bleeding .

Where can these batteries be found, and what can we do to help safeguard our children? A recent Reuters article provides us with some guidance:

They warn parents to keep not only loose batteries out of children’s reach, but also the household products that contain the batteries. In about 62 percent of cases where a young child swallowed a button battery, the child fished the battery out of a household item.

For an additional barrier, the researchers advise parents to place strong tape over the battery compartment of all household products.

They urge extra caution with any 20-mm lithium cell batteries, which can be recognized by their imprint codes — usually CR2032, CR2025 or CR2016.

On a final note, another danger is that doctors sometimes misdiagnose the injury, as the symptoms can be non-specific at times:

The current study found that in the majority of fatal or severe injuries, no one had seen the child swallow the battery. And because the symptoms of poisoning are non-specific — such as fever, vomiting, poor appetite and lethargy — doctors often initially misdiagnosed the problem.

Of course, the key is not to let your child get a hold of these ‘button batteries’ to begin with.  We strongly urge you to check your homes for these products and to take the appropriate steps to safeguard your family.  We are also again providing the link for the CPSC, as we have previously done so many times in our website‘s blog, for additional follow-up information.



New National ‘Pool Safely’ Campaign Initiated to Save Children’s Lives

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Approximately a month ago, we featured a blog on our website that dealt with child safety; specifically, safety in and around a pool.  Now, with record high temperatures hitting most of our local areas, we thought it worthwhile to further detail these safety issues and concerns, as more and more of us and our children head for comfort in the area local pools.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has actually done that for us, through a national campaign that they have recently started, entitled ‘Pool Safely’:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today kicks-off the Pool Safely campaign (www.poolsafely.gov), a first-of-its-kind national public education effort to reduce child drownings and non-fatal submersions, and entrapments in swimming pools and spas. At a press conference at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex today, Olympic swimmers Jason Lezak and Janet Evans joined Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman of the CPSC; U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL); and Nancy Baker, mother of Virginia Graeme Baker, to officially launch Pool Safely and release the CPSC’s annual submersion and entrapment reports.

Please note that the campaign is NOT just about pool drownings and submersions; it also focuses on “entrapments”.  Entrapments should not be overlooked because sadly and tragically entrapments occur more frequently than one may think.  An entrapment occurs when a child is literally stuck to the pool floor at or near a drain site, where the suction force is so great, that the child is unable to break free from the suction, thereby causing the child to drown.  The statistics speak for themselves within this year’s memorandum drafted by the CPSC.

The campaign also details preventative measures for parents to take note of and remember, in addition to providing the tragic statistics regarding accidental child drownings:

The Pool Safely campaign will deliver an important and simple message: just adding an extra safety step in and around the water can make all the difference. Your greatest water safety assurance comes from adopting and practicing as many water safety measures as possible, including: barriers that completely surround the pool with self-closing, self-latching gates; staying close, being alert, and watching children at the pool; learning and practicing water safety skills (knowing how to swim and perform CPR); and having the appropriate equipment (compliant drain covers, alarms, barriers and sensors).

We encourage our readers to review all of the links within this article. We sincerely want you to be better aware and prepared as we go through a summer of intense heat.  It looks as if the heat is here to stay for awhile, and pools can be a great source of fun relief, if the proper safety precautions are followed.

With the Fourth of July comes Fireworks. Be Smart!

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Many people enjoy watching the beautiful fireworks displays that accompany the July 4th Holiday.  Others decide to set-off the fireworks themselves.  Some people do both.  An article posted earlier this week at Springfield, Missouri’s News-Leader.com reminds us how dangerous lighting fireworks can be:

Those fireworks injuries include burns and injuries to hands, fingers and even eyes at this time of year.

Some burns caused by fireworks are minor; others are serious third-degree burns.

Fireworks burns may be small, but they can go deep, said physician Ted McMurry, medical director of St. John’s Emergency Trauma Center.

A Roman candle, for instance, “shoots a little fireball” that can penetrate clothing and skin.

Care providers have also seen eyes burned or injured by foreign bodies from fireworks, or they’ve had to remove fingers or hands ravaged by explosions.

“Typically, they come in with partially amputated fingers or a hand and the surgeons have to amputate (the rest),” said Debbie Mikkelson, nursing director at St. John’s Burn Center.

What causes this to happen?  Just plain carelessness for one. Recklessness or becoming injured when attempting to re-light fireworks are other reasons.  Another factor is alcohol. Kind of common sense, isn’t it? alcohol combined with fireworks can quickly turn a fun-filled family event into tragedy:

Booze may fuel such behavior, even in adults.

“I think as much as anything it’s risky behavior, but quite honestly the other thing that sometimes drives risky behavior is alcohol,” McMurry said. “Alcohol impairs our judgment so people will do things they might not otherwise do.”

It also slows reflexes, he added, so that drinkers lighting fireworks might not be able to move away from fuses as quickly as normal.

Accordingly, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has listed fireworks safety recommendations. It has also put a chilling video on YouTube that brings it home quite vividly.  We wish you a happy AND safe Fourth of July Weekend.

Over Two Million Cribs Recalled…What About Yours?

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Earlier this week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) made a sweeping recall announcement regarding drop-side and other types of cribs:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), with the cooperation of seven firms, is announcing voluntary recalls of more than two million cribs to address drop-side hazards and other hazards that affect the safety of young children. The recalling firms are providing consumers with free repair kits to immobilize the drop sides or other remedies. Do not attempt to fix these cribs with homemade remedies.

We previously highlighted crib recalls in several blogs on our website. This recall also includes some fixed-side cribs.  There are authorized repair kits available from the manufacturers involved.  They include: Child Craft (this firm is out of business, according to the CPSC), Delta Enterprise Corp., Evenflo, Jardine Enterprises, LaJobi, Million Dollar Baby, Simmons Juvenile Products Inc. (SJP).  Consumers should contact these companies directly for more information.

The recall notice from the CPSC also discusses their efforts to make cribs safer overall:

“Cribs should be the safest place in the home for infants and toddlers,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “CPSC is committed to addressing the hazards with cribs and to restoring parents’ confidence that their child will have a safe sleep.”

CPSC continues to actively investigate various cribs for potential drop-side and other hazards as part of a larger effort by the agency to rid the marketplace and homes of unsafe cribs. CPSC staff is also working on a new mandatory standard to make cribs safer, which is targeted for completion in 2010.

The CPSC goes on to state that “incorrect assembly or age-related wear and tear” may cause drop-side crib incidents.  In addition, the CPSC recommends that a crib more than 10 years old should not be used as “many older cribs do not meet current voluntary standards and can have numerous safety problems.”

If you have precious little ones at home, please check your cribs and follow the proper instructions from the CPSC and companies involved.

Product Safety Alert: Children's Giraffe Blanket Recalled Due to Choking Hazard

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Approximately 44,000 giraffe blankets have been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), due to the balls on the top of the horns detaching, and posing a choking hazard to small children.  The giraffe blankets are sold exclusively at Target Stores.  The full details on the recall can be found by clicking here.  

The recall states that, thankfully, no injuries have been reported, as of this publication.  The product is imported by Rashti and Rashti out of New York, and details on the recall can be found on their website, as well.  As the CPSC recall notice states “Consumers should immediately take the recalled blankets away from children and contact Rashti & Rashti for a full refund.”

Even though no injuries have been reported, let’s keep it that way! Follow the recommendations even if your child may cry for a bit when you take away their ‘security blanket.’ A sad but safe child sure beats the alternative.

Evenflo Recalls Top-of-Stair Plus Wood Gates Due to Fall Hazard

Friday, March 26th, 2010

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has just announced that they are working in conjunction with Evenflo in regard to a voluntary recall of approximately 183,000 wood gates, used primarily to assist in preventing small children from having access to stairs, where they could fall and sustain serious injuries.  Here is some of the important information in regard to the recall:

Name of product: Evenflo Top-of-Stair™ Plus Wood Gates

Units: About 150,000 in the United States and 33,000 in Canada

Manufacturer: Evenflo Co. Inc. of Miamisburg, Ohio

Hazard: The slats on the gate can break or detach, posing a fall hazard to children.

Incidents/Injuries: Evenflo has received 142 reports of slats breaking and/or detaching from the gate. Three children gained access to stairs. One of those children fell through the gate and down five steps; another fell down one step. Injuries included four children who sustained bumps and bruises to the head and seven children who sustained minor injuries including scratches, scrapes and bruises.

Description: The recall involves Evenflo models 10502 and 10512 Top-of-Stair Plus Wood Gates made from October 2007 through July 2009. The model number can be found on the bottom rail. No other Evenflo model numbers or gates are affected by this recall.

Sold at: Toys “R” Us, Burlington Baby Depot, Kmart and other juvenile product and mass merchandise retailers nationwide in the U.S. and Canada, and on the Web at Amazon.com and other online retailers from October 2007 through March 2010 for about $40.

If you have this product at your home, here is the remedy and consumer contact information:

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the recalled gate and contact Evenflo to obtain a free newer model 10503 or 10513 Top-of-Stair™ Plus Wood replacement gate.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, call Evenflo toll-free at (800) 233-5921 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s Web site at safety.evenflo.com

Graco Recalls Harmony™ High Chairs Due to Fall Hazard

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

On March 18, 2010, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a voluntary recall covering over a million high chairs for babies.

To date, there have been over 450 reports of screws loosening/falling out and/or plastic brackets cracking.  These events may cause the high chair to tip over as a result of becoming unstable.  

Although the high chair is no longer in production, the recall covers Graco Harmony High Chairs that have been sold throughout the country in many well-known department stores.  For the important recall details, go to the following link – product recall details.

There have already been several injuries reported as a result of the fall hazard.  Please also note, as stated on the CSPC’s website, that the recall applies to all Graco Harmony High Chairs.

Infant Deaths Prompt CPSC Warning About Sling Carriers for Babies

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

The Consumer Product Safety Commision (CPSC) has posted a warning about infant sling carriers, due to at least 14 deaths associated with the product.  The warning, posted in a release by the CPSC on March 12th, contains illustrations of the different positions, many of which are dangerous, of how babies are known to be carried in sling carriers.  The release also which infants are most at risk, as well as how to protect a child should the caregiver choose to use a sling carrier:

Many of the babies who died in slings were either a low birth weight twin, were born prematurely, or had breathing issues such as a cold. Therefore, CPSC urges parents of preemies, twins, babies in fragile health and those with low weight to use extra care and consult their pediatricians about using slings.

CPSC recommends that parents and caregivers make sure the infant’s face is not covered and is visible at all times to the sling’s wearer. If nursing the baby in a sling, change the baby’s position after feeding so the baby’s head is facing up and is clear of the sling and the mother’s body. Parents and caregivers should be vigilant about frequently checking their baby in a sling.

The CPSC has now added slings to products that require a mandatory standard.  Because time is of the essence, the CPSC is working with ASTM International to attempt to put voluntary standards in place for infant sling carriers, as soon as possible.  The release also has a link for reporting infant sling carrier problems: www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx.

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS Policy Statement: Prevention of Choking Among Children

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Hot Dogs…we love to eat them.  Many would argue eating hot dogs is an American Tradition.  Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is issuing a warning that hot dogs are a food choking hazard in small children.  Yesterday, February 22nd, the AAP published a Policy Statement regarding such choking hazards, through the AAP’s Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention.  The AAP has already made some broad-sweeping recommendations in regard to preventive measures and warnings.  Some of their recommendations are quoted below from their Policy Statement:

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) should increase efforts to ensure that toys that are sold in retail store bins, vending machines, or on the Internet have appropriate choking-hazard warnings; work with manufacturers to improve the effectiveness of recalls of products that pose a choking risk to children; and increase efforts to prevent the resale of these recalled products via online auction sites. Current gaps in choking-prevention standards for children’s toys should be reevaluated and addressed, as appropriate, via revisions to the standards established under the Child Safety Protection Act, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, or regulation by the CPSC.

The existing National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–All Injury Program of the CPSC should be modified to conduct surveillance  of choking on food among children. Food manufacturers should design new foods and redesign existing foods to avoid shapes, sizes, textures, and other characteristics that increase choking risk to children, to the extent possible. Pediatricians, dentists, and other infant and child health care providers should provide choking-prevention counseling to parents as an integral part of anticipatory guidance activities.

Many children lose their life every year from choking on food.  The Associated Press published an article yesterday citing the horrifying statistics:

Choking kills more than 100 U.S. children 14 years or younger each year and thousands more – 15,000 in 2001 – are treated in emergency rooms. Food, including candy and gum, is among the leading culprits, along with items like coins and balloons. Of the 141 choking deaths in kids in 2006, 61 were food-related.

The article also mentions the tragic death of 4 year old Eric Stavros Adler, who died from choking on a hot dog.

The AP article cites the following as some recommendations:

Doctors say high-risk foods, including hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes and apples – should be cut into pea-sized pieces for small children to reduce chances of choking. Some say other risky foods, including hard candies, popcorn, peanuts and marshmallows, shouldn’t be given to young children at all.

Something as simple as making lollipops flat like a silver dollar instead of round like a pingpong ball can make a big difference, said Bruce Silverglade, legal affairs director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which also has lobbied for more attention to choking prevention.

Please, please, please…make sure your children are ‘eating safely’.  Supervise your children when they are eating.  Our precious little ones are irreplaceable.  Don’t allow the shape and/or size of food to pose a life and death situation for you and your loved ones.

Consumer Product Safety Commission Recall: Discovery Kids™ Animated Marine and Safari Lamps

Monday, February 15th, 2010

On February 9, 2010, the CPSC, with the cooperation of the manufacturer, Innovage, LLC, issued a recall of  Discovery Kids™ Animated Marine and Safari Lamps.  According to the recall notice, approximately 360,000 of these lamps were manufactured.  Needless to say, this is a serious safety hazard warning – fire and burn hazard to consumers.

Hazard: A defect in the lamp’s printed circuit board can cause an electrical short, posing a fire and burn hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Innovage has received nine reports of incidents, including seven reports of lamps catching fire, one involving smoke inhalation injury to a child and three involving minor property damage.

Description: This recall involves the Discovery Kids™ Animated Marine Lamp with model number 1627121 or 1628626 and the Animated Safari Lamp with model number 1627124 or 1628626.All models have batch numbers beginning with “2”. The decorative lamps are silver in color and feature rotating films with marine or safari scenes. “Discovery Kids” is printed on the front top left corner. The batch number is an 11 digit number located on the bottom of each unit. The model number can be found on the bottom of the packaging.

This product was distributed nationwide – online and through direct sales for $10 – distribution occurred between July 2009 and January 2010.

Consumers are warned to stop using the product immediately.  You can refer to the recall notice for further information and how to report any incidents or for returning the product for a refund.  You can also obtain further information from the manufacturer – Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Innovage toll-free at (888) 232-1535 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, visit the firm’s Web site at www.lamprecall.org or emailinfo@lamprecall.org