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ShopSmart Identifies Dangerous Baby Products

 

And what to buy instead to keep kids safe

ShopSmart MagazineYonkers, NY – Not all baby products available for sale are safe to use—last year, 40 percent of all recalls were for kids’ products.

The June 2012 issue of ShopSmart magazine, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, highlights 12 baby products that can put babies at risk and identifies safer alternatives parents should use instead.

The report also describes how to achieve maximum safety when using items such as jogging strollers, safety gates, and baby monitors.

“Many people think that if a product is for sale in stores that it must be safe,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “But that’s not always true. Many widely sold baby products can put your child at risk of injuries or even death.”

Hazardous Baby Products

When you buy a baby product, mail in the registration card that comes with it—for most items, your information won’t be used for anything other than notifying you about safety issues with the product.  Here’s a sampling of baby products to avoid – the full list is available in the June 2012 issue of ShopSmart and online at www.ConsumerReports.org.

Bathtime

Infant bath seats are designed to help a child sit upright in a bathtub, but can give parents a false sense of security—they can tip over and babies can fall into the water and drown.  Instead, use a hard plastic baby bathtub and never leave your baby unattended or turn your back.  Keep one hand on the baby at all times.

Sleeping Hazards

Parents should avoid using bumpers, sleep positioners, blankets, and pillows in a crib, which can all prevent a suffocation hazard.   Instead, put babies in a bare crib with just a fitted sheet.   Instead of a blanket, use a sleep sack or footed pajamas to keep your baby warm.

Furniture Safety

A full-sized crib with fixed sides should be used in lieu of a drop-side crib or a bedside sleeper, both of which can pose a suffocation risk to babies.  While drop-side cribs were banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2011, there are currently no safety regulations for bedside sleepers, which allow infants to sleep near their mothers for nursing.

Choose a changing table that has barriers on all four sides to avoid the risk of your baby falling.  Unsecured furniture can topple over and kill a child in an instant.  Use antitip straps or brackets to fasten furniture to the wall to avoid tip-over accidents which can result in injury or death.

How to Ensure Safety

Products like strollers and safety gates are safe as long as you use them correctly.  Here are some tips to ensure maximum safety.

  • To avoid strangulation, keep cords from baby monitors and window blinds, curtains and shades out of baby’s reach.
  • For items with harnesses—such as car seats, high chairs, bouncers and strollers—always opt for a model with a five-point harness, as they are much safer than those with a three-point.   Always fasten the harness and keep it fastened until you are ready to remove the baby from the product—babies have been killed or injured when their harness was not fastened securely and they fell, sometimes from a height of several feet.
  • Babies should be at least a year old before taking them jogging in a jogging stroller.  A young infant who can’t hold his or her head up risks asphyxia if not properly reclined.  Instead, take brisk walks using a stroller that lets babies lie on their backs or one that accepts a car seat.
  • A pressure-mounted safety gate can help keep your babies from going up the stairs, but are not strong enough to keep them from falling down.  Use a hardware-mounted model at the top of stairs, indoors or out.  No gate is a substitute for careful supervision of a baby or toddler.
  • Use cool-mist humidifiers in your child’s room instead of warm-mist humidifiers or vaporizers whose steam can cause burns or that have dangerously hot surfaces.  When not in use, remove the humidifier from the room so children can’t spill the water or play with the power cord, risking electrocution.

About Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually.

Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

About ShopSmart Magazine

Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon the publication’s celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. ShopSmart features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists.

It’s ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.shopsmartmag.org.


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