Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Recalls, recalls everywhere

From BabyCenter.com:

Picking the best baby products for your family means more than just buying the cutest one, or the cheapest one, or the one that has all the right features. You must also make sure the product is safe and appropriate for your child.
Although the U.S. government does set safety standards for many children's products, and quality manufacturers do safety-test products before they hit the stores, dozens of children's products sold in the United States are recalled each year because of safety problems that are discovered after parents begin using these products. What's more, a number of widely available children's products — such as baby bath seats — are considered dangerous by safety experts but are sold nonetheless.
See if the product has an unsafe track record by checking the Web site of Kids in Danger, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children from defective products.
Look for a seal from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), a trade organization whose safety standards are much higher than those issued by the federal government. The JPMA certifies a wide variety of products, from bassinets and cradles to infant carriers and walkers. For a complete list of products, visit the certification area of the JPMA Web site.
Find out what Consumer Reports has to say about the product. The easiest way to do that is on the Consumer Reports Web site, where you'll find free and for-fee information about baby products and gear. You can also find the group's reviews and ratings compiled in the book Consumer Reports Best Baby Products, by Sandra Gordon.
How to find out about recalls:
• Visit BabyCenter's free recall database of child-related products. The database is updated weekly and lists products recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and others. Search by category of product, date of recall, manufacturer, name or product, or model number. The CPSC maintains a complete list of recalled products on its Web site. Depending on what you're looking for, click on "Child products (not including toys)" or "Toys." These listings contain important information such as:

• a description of the product being recalled, including product numbers and when and where the product was sold

• injuries that could result from using the product

• steps the manufacturer is taking to remedy the situation

• contact information for the manufacturer

Or, instead of checking the Web site periodically, you can be notified directly when a product is recalled by signing up for the CPSC's free recall alert e-mails.

Play it safe, out there!

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