As a pediatrician, I do everything I possibly can to keep children safe and healthy. One important part of that is counseling parents on what they can do to protect their children from dangerous products and unsafe toys. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of products that pose serious harm to children, such as toys with small parts that are choking hazards, dressers that can tip over, and products with strong magnets that can cause severe damage if swallowed.
Sometimes, these are every day products that you would never know could be harmful or even life-threatening.
In fact, in 2016 there were over 62,000 injuries associated with nursery products in children under 5 treated in emergency departments, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Today marks the 10th anniversary of a landmark law that has made great strides to keep children safe – the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Importantly, this law created the SaferProducts.gov database, which allows members of the general public, like you and me, to report dangerous products and also browse reports from others.
Whether you are shopping for a baby shower or planning to buy a new household item, the SaferProducts.gov database provides a wealth of useful information that helps us to be smart consumers. It also gives us the needed peace of mind that we are buying products that are safe for our children.
Using SaferProducts.gov to confirm the safety of toys, cribs, and other household items can be quick and easy. You can go to the “Search Recalls & Reports” tab and click on the links under “Browse These Popular Categories” to check product safety. Categories include babies and kids; sports and recreation; home; toys; and fire and carbon monoxide hazards.
It is also important to remember – the more information reported, the more useful the database, and parents have an important role to play in making that possible. Reporting products that harm children can help keep other children safe and parents informed. Doing so only takes about 5 to 10 minutes!
To file a report, go to SaferProducts.gov and click “Report An Unsafe Product.” This will allow you to include product and incident details, information on individuals involved and recall details. Photos of the product, injuries or damage to property can also be uploaded. After that, product manufacturers receive a copy of the report and can respond; all comments then are published at SaferProducts.gov.
You can also make a report through the CPSC telephone hotline: 800-638-2772; or by fax to 855-221-6466 or via mail to; Attn: Clearinghouse; 4330 East West Highway; Bethesda, MD 20814-4408.
We can all play a part in reporting unsafe products and remember to use the database as a helpful resource when making a purchase; it’s one step that can go a long way to keeping our children safe!