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From Products Liability Law Daily, February 10, 2015

Kids in Danger report: 10 years of data shows decrease in children’s products recalls, associated injuries

By Pamela C. Maloney, J.D.

A report issued by Kids in Danger (KID) revealed that stronger standards and oversight by regulatory agencies have had a positive effect on product safety, noting there has been a decrease in the number of recalls involving children’s products, as well as a decrease in reported injuries and incidents involving those products (A Decade of Data: An In-depth Look at 2014 and a Ten-Year Retrospective on Children’s Product Recalls, February, 2015).

Background. KID is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children by improving product safety. In this study, the organization reviewed recall data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission for 2014 alongside data collected over the last ten years by KID from CPSC sources. The report illuminates a decade’s worth of children’s product recall trends and information. In addition, the report examines how effective the recalls from 2013 were in removing dangerous products from homes.

Key findings. Highlights of the report’s findings include:

  • 2014 Recalled Children’s Product Information

    • — Twenty-five percent (75) of the products recalled by the CPSC were children’s products.

    • — Clothing recalls made up the largest children’s product category with 25 recalls (33%).

    • — Almost every single negative metric for recalled children’s products decreased from 2013; only the number of units recalled increased from 2013 levels in 2014.

    • — Injuries (29) dropped to their lowest levels since KID began studying recalls.

    • — Social media numbers, while up from 2013, are still low; improvements should be made in the use of social media in relation to recall alerts.

  • 2013 Recall Effectiveness

    • — The effectiveness of 2013 recalls was dismal—the numbers, while similar to 2012’s findings, show an even worse successful capture of recalled product rate for consumers (3.96%). In addition, the majority of the recalled children’s products continue to remain in consumer hands (79.79%).

    • — Only 14% of all 2013 recalled children’s products were destroyed or repaired.

  • Ten-Year Retrospective

    • — From 2005-2014, there were a total of 19,581 incidents, 2,464 injuries, and 57 deaths related to recalled children’s products reported prior to recall.

    • — During the same period, toys were the most recalled products (471), while nursery products injured (1,298) and killed (32) the most children.

    • — It is likely that the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 is behind the 2008 shift from increasing numbers of children’s product recalls to decreasing numbers.

The report called the drastic decrease in injuries and slight decrease in deaths reported prior to recall heartening but added that the increase in the number of units recalled in 2014 meant that more units were on the shelf. This in turn meant that the chances for severe injury and death had increased when all of these variables should be decreasing.

Important trends. The report noted several important trends revealed by the 10-year review. One trend—demonstrated by the decreasing number of children’s recalls—is that the strong regulations and mandatory standards set down by Danny’s Law have in fact improved children’s product safety. The Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act (Section 104(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008) requires CPSC to promulgate consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products that are substantially the same as such voluntary standards, or, if the Commission determines that more stringent standards would further reduce the risk of injury associated with such products, the Commission could adopt standards that are more stringent than existing voluntary standards. The KID report cautioned that as Danny’s Law continues to be implemented, it is important to look for other opportunities to improve children’s product safety. Other trends mentioned in the report were port surveillance and new product testing requirements.

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