Products such as strollers, car seats, swings and infant carriers are frequently offered at yard and garage sales. When the kids have outgrown them, they might as well be sold, recouping a bit of their significant cost and offering other parents a bargain on a brand-name item.
Or maybe they’ll be donated to a thrift shop or put out for the trash pickup, either way possibly winding up with a family looking for ways to reduce the significant cost of raising children.
But even a pristine product for a child could have an unrecognized safety problem. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls hundreds of defective products each year, and their owners may not have heard about the recalls or complied with them.
Versions of the above-mentioned products have figured in prominent recalls the past several years. Even items made and sold by the most reputable companies have been found to have design defects. Small children are very inventive in their interaction with the things within their reach and very vulnerable to injury. In 2015, federal agencies overall recalled 4,217 products, of which 410 were consumer products.
Besides its good work of monitoring, testing and recalling unsafe products, the Consumer Product Safety Commission also maintains a searchable database of recalls that makes it easy to check on an item. That’s at cpsc.gov/recalls. Taking a few minutes to check the household’s child-care products can be reassuring.
Child-care settings may also expose kids to products deemed unsafe. A recent survey by Kids in Danger and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that 1 in 10 licensed child-care facilities still were using Fisher-Price rocking sleepers that had been recalled in April after infant fatalities in them.
Recalls are effective at removing products from store shelves, especially after a 2008 federal law banned their sale.
But with so many items typically sold by the time a recall is announced (5 million of the sleepers, for example), making their purchasers or current owners aware of the recalls and getting them to take action is a challenge.
Eighteen states have helped by enacting regulations that ban the use of recalled products at child-care centers. New Jersey isn’t one of them, but the state Department of Children and Families says its regulations achieve the same goals as such legislation. Pennsylvania and Delaware are, and Pennsylvania requires inspectors to confirm that facilities aren’t using recalled items.
Perhaps New Jersey should enact such legislation as well, perhaps also requiring a notice that a facility is free of recalled products.
Until then, child-care centers should check their products on their own and let their customers know they maintain such oversight. That will help alert parents to the issue as well.