A new study finds that the number of children injured by products recalled for fire- and burn-related hazards more than doubled in the last five years, in comparison with the preceding decade.
The study, conducted by the nonprofit organization Kids in Danger (KID), examined the 40 childrens products recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the last five years for risk of fire and burns, and analyzed the recall process and its participants.
The fact that 40 products were recalled in the last year, compared to 42 products in the ten years before that means that somewhere along the way, childrens product safety is getting sacrificed, Emma Rosenberg, the reports author said.
Technological advancements should correlate with a decrease in injuries and a decrease in recalls, not the opposite.
The report found that products were recalled for electrical failure, battery failure, flammability, and exposed heat surface/substance. A total of 5,400,014 units were recalled.
While the report found that the majority of the products, nearly 60%, were recalled due to battery and electrical failure, the product which caused the most injuries and had the second largest recall was Hasbro Inc.s Easy-Bake Oven, whose hazard was an exposed heat surface.
In redesigning the decades-old design that relied on a light bulb, the new Easy-Bake Oven had metal inside of the oven that children could access through the front opening.
While recent recalls of products contaminated with lead have focused attention on the manufacturing process and imports, this recall shows that faulty design contributes as well to injuries, said Nancy Cowles, executive director of KID.
Some of the most hazardous products recalled included:
1,000,000 units of Hasbro Inc.s Easy-Bake Oven, responsible for 82 burns, one so severe as to require the amputation of a five-year-olds finger,
180,000 units of Creative Innovation and Sourcing LLCs radio- control Pro-Flying Saucer, responsible for burning 7 children,
233,000 units of Fisher-Prices Crib Mobile Toy, responsible for dripping battery acid on six infants, chemically burning them.
Other findings of the report include:
Elkton Sparkler Inc. had the largest recall at 1,700,000 units of Bamboo Stick Sparklers.
Thirty percent of the products recalled failed to pass the Federal Flammable Fabrics Act; all were articles of clothing.
Two manufacturers were responsible for four of the forty recalls in one year alone.
In February 2006 Creative Innovations and Sources LLC recalled 8,000 of its Thunder Spin R.C. Road Rage Stunt Machine Trucks. Over a month later, it recalled 180,000 radio- controlled Pro Flying Saucers.
Spin Master Toys waited even longer between recalls: nearly three months between recalling 7,500 radio- controlled airplanes and 46,200 remote-controlled helicopters.
The nearly 300,000 units recalled in total all shared a similar problem: a power source that overheated. In total, 10 children were injured.
Ultimately, the focus should not be on removing hazardous childrens products from the market, but making sure that they arent sold in the first place, Cowles said. No matter how effective recalls become, mandatory pre-market testing is the only way to ensure that no child gets injured.
CPSC found lacking
These recalls demonstrate the Consumer Product Safety Commission lacks the leadership, the money, the staff and the legal authority it needs to protect children from dangerous products, said Brian Imus, State Director for Illinois PIRG. Consumers and parents deserve better than after-the-fact, ineffective recalls.
At best, burns are mild but painful. At worst they can be disfiguring or fatal. From the product injury perspective, toys that burn and pajamas that don't meet flammability standards are inexcusable, added Dr. Robert Tanz, physician at Childrens Memorial Hospital and professor at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine.
It is long past time to build safety in to children's toys and other products.
KID was founded in 1998 by University of Chicago professors Linda Ginzel and Boaz Keysar after their 16-month-old son Danny died in a recalled portable crib.