Children's Product Safety: What Parents Should Know

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The children’s and baby product industry is booming. Items like high-tech video monitors, breathing alarms, multifunction strollers and white-noise makers round out “required gear” lists for new parents.

The scary part is that nearly everything you need to keep your child safe may pose a potential threat. So children’s product safety is just as hot a topic as what to buy. And with good reason: According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the number of products recalled varies from year to year, but it’s never at zero. For example, 52 children’s products were recalled in 2018, 93 in 2017 and more than 230 in 2007, the worst year on record.

Managing Children’s Product Recalls

Popular gear and devices for kids are often subject to recalls, warnings and safety concerns. How can you stay up to date while also ensuring your child is safe? Consider these four strategies:

  1. Keep it simple: When you’re a first-time parent, it’s tempting to purchase every baby- and toddler-related gadget, device and nifty product you think you might need. In reality, infants and toddlers only need a few items to grow and thrive. And the fewer gadgets you own, the lower the chance you’ll have to deal with a recall. Must-haves include a secure car seat, safe bedding, developmentally appropriate toys, comfortable clothing and diapers.
  2. Do your research: It’s always wise to learn about the history of a product, including recalls, before you buy it. You can also register it with the manufacturer so you’ll be notified of any recalls. Purchasing a secondhand item? Research its history through the Consumer Products Safety Commission, which maintains a record of any product recalls, accidents or warnings. And if you’re selling a baby item you’re done using, always disclose if there has been a product recall.
  3. Follow recall instructions: If you hear about a baby product recall for an item you already own, search the Consumer Products Safety Commission. You’ll need to confirm that you have the same product and lot number as the recalled item. Then follow the instructions for returning and/or replacing it. If you registered a product such as a car seat or baby monitor after purchase, you may receive a notification in the mail with recall information details.

Keeping Baby Safe and Thriving

If you’re on the market for specific baby, infant or toddler products — especially big-ticket items like cribs and car seats — consider talking with fellow parents about their experiences. Be wary of items you don’t need and that could threaten your child’s health and development. 

Even items that haven’t been recalled can pose a safety threat, so it’s important to follow basic safety guidelines

  • Make sure all cords and wires are out of reach.
  • Keep an eye on your child if they’re using a toy that can overheat.
  • Don’t place children in any device that restricts their movement for more than 20 to 30 minutes at a time. (Walkers can put your child at risk for falls and hamper his or her ability to strengthen their arms and legs naturally.)
  • Ensure plush toys, games and other items don’t have parts that can dislodge and become a choking hazard.
  • When in doubt, get on your hands and knees to look for potential hazards from a toddler’s perspective.

All safety concerns aside, kids need floor time with developmentally appropriate toys. And while playtime should be reserved for fun, it’s up to parents to ensure a safe experience, too.

Want more information about product recalls? Visit www.safekids.org or www.recalls.gov.


To find a doctor or pediatrician at Henry Ford, visit henryford.com or call 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936). Want more advice from our wellness experts? Subscribe today to receive weekly emails of our latest tips.

Categories: ParentWell