44 Million Children's Products Involved in 18 Deaths Recalled in 2010

child product recalls consumer ally children's product recallMore than 44 million children's products involved in 18 deaths were recalled last year - a figure boosted by a crackdown on soon-to-be banned drop-side cribs, the safety group Kids In Danger concluded in a report released today.

Overall, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced 160 child product recalls, the group said, but said progress is being made in the safety arena.

"These recalls show that we still have a long way to go before children are fully protected from unsafe products," Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger, said in a statement. "At the same time, CPSC has taken actions that have had a measurable and definitively positive impact on children's product safety. We can take heart that we are moving in the right direction."The numbers were also boosted by the recall of 12 million Shrek glasses due to levels of cadmium that no longer would be considered high enough to recall.

Kids in Danger found that nursery products as a category had the most injuries reported by manufacturers prior to issuing a recall - 108. The single most for a product was the Step2 Push Buggy. The recall was not announced until 28 injuries had been documented.

Of five products that companies waited until at least 100 consumers reported incidents, four were nursery products. The fifth, a trampoline, had 247 incidents prior to being recalled, Kids in Danger said.

The number of recorded incidents prior to recalls bolsters the case long made by safety advocates that the voluntary reporting by companies causes unacceptable delays in getting word to consumers. A database set to go online on Friday - now under attack in Congress - would get that information to consumers about two weeks after an incident was reported.

"It's examples like this that illustrate the importance of the forthcoming public database, which will allow consumers to access reports about unsafe products in a timely manner, so that preventable injuries can be avoided," Cowles said.

In a statement sent out by Kids In Danger, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) spoke out against the attack on the law that created the database, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

"To those cynical, and frankly, heartless champions of deregulation, I say: we are not going back," she said.

Update (March 9): The following statement was sent to Consumer Ally from Step2 CEO Jack Vresics:

"Step2 has a very robust incident reporting system and has a proven track record of safety within the toy industry. We are a company of parents and grandparents and we take our customer's safety as our number 1 priority. Over an 11 year period, from a population of over 2.6 million Push Around Buggies, Step2 received 28 incident reports due to wear and tear causing the handle to detach - 26 were minor scrapes and bruises and two required professional medical treatment. Each incident was investigated and a product re-design was done in 2009 to increase the product's safety for consumers.

"Last year's voluntary recall was issued in coordination with the CPSC and Health Canada and we issued a safety replacement kit for all existing buggies that were not part of the 2009 re-design. As stated in the Kids in Danger report, Step2 has more than 2.6 million buggies on the market – but we know, and would like to point out, that more than 99.999% of them were used safely without any reported incidents."

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