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Drawstrings Not Allowed

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Look at your child’s jackets, sweatshirts and sweaters. See nothing unusual? Now, look again. Do they have drawstrings?

hood drawstring you should not see on your child's clothes

For reasons we show below, CPSC passed a rule in July 2011, designating most drawstrings in children’s upper outerwear as hazardous. This essentially means that you shouldn’t see for sale, and your child shouldn’t wear, jackets, sweatshirts and sweaters with dangerous drawstrings. That means no neck or hood drawstrings for upper outerwear in sizes 2T through 12 or S through L. In addition, certain waist or bottom drawstrings are considered dangerous.

waist drawstring you shouldn't see

These waist drawstrings and the hood drawstrings above are what you should not see on your child’s clothes.

With waist drawstrings, there are three things to look for:

  • When the clothing is at its fullest width, the drawstring should not hang out more than 3 inches.
  • There shouldn’t be any toggles or other attachments on the drawstring.
  • The drawstring must be stitched into the back so that it cannot be pulled to one side.

Here’s why:

Drawstrings can catch on items such as playground equipment or vehicle doors. CPSC has received 26 reports of children who have died when drawstrings in their clothes got tangled on playground slides, school bus doors and other objects. Waist and bottom drawstrings that were caught in cars and buses resulted in dragging incidents.

CPSC first issued guidelines on drawstrings in February 1996. These were then incorporated into a voluntary standard in 1997. Since the clothing industry started following the voluntary standard, deaths involving neck or hood drawstrings  decreased by 75 percent and there have been no deaths associated with waist or bottom drawstrings.

Still, we continue to see jackets, sweatshirts, and sweaters made with drawstrings that are dangerous. CPSC has issued more than 130 recalls involving clothes with drawstrings including 8 recalls between November 2011 and May 8, 2012. Here are some recalls from  just the past month (as of publication of this blog). So, check your child’s upper outerwear and make sure to follow the instructions on these recalls.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/05/drawstrings-not-allowed/

Plastic Film Covers

You might know them best from your smart phone or the panel on a new kitchen appliance. They’re on many consumer products with “scratchable” surfaces these days, including on children’s toys and mirrors. Plastic film coverings are intended as packaging. Remove them before you give a toy to a child.

If you don’t remove that film, or don’t even realize it’s on a toy, your child could find it before you do. They could mouth it and gag, or even choke on it.

That’s what reportedly happened to two young children playing in their Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo Jumperoo bouncy seats. The mirror on the toy comes with a plastic film cover on it. A Washington state family told a Seattle TV station that they didn’t realize the plastic was on the toy until their son gagged, couldn’t breathe and eventually coughed it up.

"X" Sticker and black arrow on plastic film that covers mirror on the Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo Jumperoo
In the middle of the plastic film that arrived on this type of toy examined at CPSC was a separate clear sticker with a big red X. The X sticker can pull off without grabbing the plastic film on the toy mirror. On one side of the plastic film is an arrow that points at the X. Again, a parent can pull the arrow off without pulling off the plastic film.

If you see the film on a mirror or other product without an arrow or “X” to guide you to remove it, you might not even realize that the plastic cover is there. So, take an extra look at your children’s toys. Are there mirrors or scratchable surfaces that seem like they should be shiny but aren’t? If so, look for a thin piece of plastic, remove it and throw it away.

Thin plastic on a child's toy.

This piece of plastic on a child's toy is thin and difficult to notice if you've removed the arrow. Remove plastic like this from all items that you give to your young child.

Other “grown-up toys” like cellphones, video monitors and even stainless steel appliances, have similar plastic film coverings. In all cases, don’t let the “new toy” distract you from carefully removing and discarding the film if you have a small child in your home.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/04/plastic-film-covers/

Infant Swings: What to Look For

baby in an infant swingCPSC is making progress in establishing a new safety rule for infant swings. Many of you moms and dads know these products well, as they have helped your baby fall asleep at 3 a.m., 3 p.m., and everywhere in between.

While working through the safety of these swings, CPSC staff has assembled some interesting information for new moms and dads:

First, when you bring your new baby home, remember that newborns and young infants don’t have the muscle tone or strength to keep their heads up. So, when you put them into a swing, make sure that your baby is lying down.

It’s likely that you’ll see this warning on your swing: “Use only in the most reclined seat position until infant can hold head up unassisted.”

That warning is there to alert you to a safety concern. Infants who are placed sitting up can end up in a slumped-over position that blocks their breathing. Of 15 deaths related to infant swings between January 2002 and May 18, 2011, five infants died from being slumped over. Moms, Dads: An upright swing is not a safe spot for your infant to sleep.

Restraints, meanwhile, accounted for the highest proportion of injuries. Have any of you had this happen in your swing?

  • Your baby leans forward or sideways and falls or nearly falls out of the seat.
  • Your baby leans back, causing the seat to tilt backwards. Your baby then slides out backwards onto his or her head.

If you’ve seen this happen, you aren’t alone. Both of these are common. Here’s some information from CPSC staff:

“As infants start to learn to sit up on their own, they tend to lean forward in the swing. If the infant leans forward while the swing is moving backwards, the infant’s upper body can fall out of the swing. A number of the incidents reported finding the infant hanging upside down with the waist/crotch restraint still attached.”

Infant swing manufacturers have begun making swings with a 5-point harness. CPSC staff believes that this restraint could help prevent babies from falling or getting trapped in a swing.

Consider these hazards when you are buying a new or used infant swing and know that CPSC staff is working hard to strengthen the safety standard for these products and make it mandatory.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2012/02/infant-swings-what-to-look-for/

Infants in Bumbo Baby Seats Falling from Elevated Surfaces and Suffering Serious Head Injuries

Bumbo Baby Seat

Are you putting your infant in a Bumbo seat that looks like this, on an elevated surface? If so, STOP and read this warning.

NEVER put a Bumbo baby seat on a table, countertop, chair or other elevated surface.

ONLY put an infant in a Bumbo seat if it is on a floor.

Infants placed in Bumbo seats can escape from the seat by arching their backs, leaning forward or sideways or rocking. Infants age 3 to 10 months old have suffered serious head injuries—such as a skull fracture or concussion—from falling from a Bumbo baby seat when this happens.

CPSC and Bumbo International are aware of at least 45 incidents in which infants fell out of Bumbo seat while it was being used on an elevated surface. These incidents happened after an October 2007 voluntary recall of the product to add a warning on the front of the seat against use on elevated surfaces.

Since the recall, CPSC and Bumbo International have learned that 17 of those infants, ages 3 to 10 months, suffered skull fractures. These incidents and injuries involved both recalled Bumbo seats and Bumbo seats sold after the recall with the additional on-product warnings.

CPSC and Bumbo International are also aware of an additional 50 reports of infants falling or maneuvering out of Bumbo seats used on the floor and at unknown elevations. These incidents include two reports of skull fractures and one report of a concussion that occurred when infants fell out of Bumbo seats used on the floor. These injuries reportedly occurred when the infants struck their heads on hard flooring, or in one case, on a nearby toy.

At the time of the 2007 recall announcement, CPSC was aware of 28 falls from the product, three of which resulted in skull fractures to infants who fell or maneuvered out of the product used on an elevated surface.

CPSC and Bumbo International are now aware of at least 46 falls from Bumbo seats used on elevated surfaces that occurred prior to the 2007 recall, resulting in 14 skull fractures, two concussions and one incident of a broken limb.

About 3.85 million Bumbo seats have been sold in the U.S. since 2003.

A look at YouTube shows babies sitting in the seats on all sorts of unsafe surfaces: tables, bathroom counters, kitchen counters and couches and even in a kiddie pool. These are NOT safe ways to use this product.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/11/infants-in-bumbo-baby-seats-falling-from-elevated-surfaces-and-suffering-serious-head-injuries/

Play Yards: What Parents Should Know

Because of deaths and injuries associated with play yards, CPSC has started drafting mandatory safety standards for them. In fact, earlier this month the commissioners at CPSC voted unanimously to move forward with proposed rulemaking aimed at making play yards safer than ever before.

Play yards have been involved in about 50 deaths and about 2,000 non-fatal incidents, including 165 incidents that resulted in injuries such as cuts and bruises since November 2007. The majority of the infant deaths were 1-year-old or younger. New standards are aimed at reducing the risk of injury and death.

To protect your baby, know the risks. Deaths associated with play yards included children who climbed out of the play yard and drowned in a nearby pool. Caregivers should remember that play yards are meant for children who are less than 35 inches tall and who cannot climb out of the play yard. 

Other play yard deaths include entrapment from a collapsed play yard, strangulation from a looped strap hanging in the play yard and a child found entrapped between an unfolded mattress pad and the play yard floor liner.

Consumers should be especially careful about play yard attachments. Changing tables and bassinet attachments must be carefully installed. CPSC has received reports describing how the corner of bassinets detached from the frame of the play yard. Caregivers are reminded to review warning labels and instruction materials carefully when assembling play yards and play yard accessories, like bassinets. 

About 90% of incident reports describe the collapse of the play yard’s side rail. If the side rail collapses, a child can get their neck entrapped in the collapsed side rail, lose their footing and strangle. Side rail collapses also are dangerous because children can escape and may be injured outside the play yard.

Unfortunately, even a new federal standard can’t fully protect your baby from an unsafe sleep environment, so it’s up to you to keep the environment free of suffocation hazards.  The primary cause of play yard deaths is babies being placed in an unsafe sleep environment full of soft or extra bedding, such as pillows, quilts and comforters. Always remember a bare environment is best! 

Another leading cause of death is infants being placed face down. Babies should always be placed on their backs in a safe sleep environment such as a crib or play yard that meets current standards.

Caregivers also should ensure that play yards are placed away from window blind cords or computer cords that can fall into the play yard and strangle children inside.

To keep your baby safe check CPSC’s website for play yard and other nursery product recalls. Visit www.CPSC.gov/cribs for additional resources and safety information and sign up to get e-mail notification on recalls.

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This address for this post is: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2011/09/play-yards-what-parents-should-know/