Tag: kid safety

Seventeen Minutes for Knowledge: Furniture Tip Over

By the time you’re done reading this post and listening to the audio, another child will sustain an injury from furniture, television, or appliance tip over. It happens every 17 minutes. This results in 25,500 injuries per year, with a death almost every two weeks.

This happens frequently because there are no mandatory furniture design standards manufacturers must meet. When a small child climbs a 30-inch-tall dresser with a drawer out, the center of gravity and stability can change. Some manufacturers do follow a voluntary standard that states dressers that are 30 inches or more must be able to maintain stability with 50 pounds hanging off an open drawer, but consumers have no easy way of knowing which furniture was held to this standard. This lack of standards isn’t for lack of trying. In 2016 The STURDY Act (The Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act) was introduce to Congress but was never passed.

As the work continues to mandate standards for designing safety into products like furniture, the onus of safety is put on the consumer. Parents are, unrealistically, expected to watch their children around furniture 100 percent of the time. Consumers are also expected to alter their furniture at home by anchoring it.

While it’s not acceptable to put the burden to reduce safety risks and hazards on consumers, anchoring furniture and buying furniture that could withstand the not yet passed STURDY standards are good steps to take while we wait for safety design standards to catch up. You can find great tips on furniture tip over prevention and proper anchoring techniques from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Consumer Reports has also released a report on which furniture already available meets the STURDY standards.

Review those resources while you listen to Kevin King expand on furniture tip over, the staggering injury statistics behind the hazard, and where safety standards need to go.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.

Santa’s Safety Updates: Trouble in Toyland 33rd Annual Survey Results

Your favorite son, daughter, niece, nephew, neighbor’s cousin, or other kid in your life has made a list, written to Santa, and proclaimed their wants out loud to anyone who will listen. So now it’s time for shopping. What will you buy? What they want? What you think looks like fun? We can’t tell you outright what to buy, but those playing Santa should be aware of the results of the Trouble in Toyland 33rd Annual Survey of Toy Safety Results.

This report is chalk full of important toy safety information for anyone doing toy shopping. Published annually by the Public Interest Research Group, this report reviews the toys on the market and their safety as it pertains to children. With more than 251,000 toy related injuries reported at hospitals in 2017 alone, the report holds important information for anyone who shops for children. It looks for toy safety issues such as as toxic chemicals, choking hazards, smart toys, excessive noise producers, and overheating batteries and chargers.

This year some highlights of the report including warnings about:

  1. Slime toys: Many of these toys contain boron, a compound used in manufacturing and cleaning chemicals. In the EU 300 parts per million (ppm) is acceptable in consumer level items but there is no labeling or warning here in the US and some slime toys have as much as 4700 ppm. When ingested this can lead to nausea and vomiting along with other physical side effects.
  2. Internet connected toys: Some internet connected toys are leaving children vulnerable with offloading of information. The Dash for Kids Robot and the Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition have both been found conveying information to third parties. 
  3. E-Scooters: New e-scooters can go up to 10-15 miles per hour and have smaller wheels than traditional scooters. They’ve lead to a considerable number of collisions and injuries as there is no set design criteria and very few ordinances and regulations regarding their usage.
  4. Hoverboards: We’ve discussed this one before due to their batteries but they’re still an issue. Since 2015 2.5 million hoverboards have been sold. Many are in use by children 12-15 years old, a large segment of those toy related hospital reported injuries. Beyond the battery issues, these kids are suffering from head injuries and fractures. 

Listen in as Kevin King discusses this report, toy safety issues pertaining to children, and a few toy safety issues pertaining to parents as well.

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.

There are additional great resources for toy and children safety:

WISPIRG, Trouble in Toyland

The Mozilla Foundation, Privacy Not Included, https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/ privacynotincluded, (accessed on 11 December 2018).

The Mozilla Foundation, Privacy Not Included: Dash the Robot, https://foundation. mozilla.org/en/privacynotincluded/products/ dash-the-robot/, (accessed on 11 December 2018).

The Mozilla Foundation, Privacy Not Included: Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition, https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/privacynotincluded/products/amazon-fire-hd-kids-edition/, (accessed on 11 December 2018).

Center for Digital Democracy, Protecting Children’s Online Privacy: A Parent’s Guide to the new stronger kids’ privacy rules for digital media (COPPA), https://www.democraticmedia.org/content/protecting-childrens-online-privacy-parents-guide-new-stronger-kids-privacy-rules-digital, (accessed on 11 December 2018).

A Turf Battle: The Safety Hazards of Synthetic Turf

artificial-turfSpring, along with park visits and soccer games, will return soon. The season will bring the worry parents have about sports safety and playground equipment safety, but there’s an even more concerning safety issues you may not even be aware of. It’s the ground children play on: synthetic turf.

Made from crumb rubber, rubber primarily from recycled tires, synthetic fields contain chemicals, metals, and carcinogens. Manufacturers currently say their fields are safe, the levels of these metals and chemicals are minimal and at safe levels, not posing threats to humans. With more than 11,000 synthetic fields across the country at schools and parks, in addition to many playgrounds that currently utilize crumb rubber, there is a lot of the rubber out there with little conclusive information on the health hazards they pose.

Synthetic fields and rubber filler for playgrounds were supposed to be a solution for the growing used tire problems. It recycled a product that couldn’t naturally decompose and also provided a cheap, long-wear, easy maintenance options for schools and parks. Now, more than anything, the crumb rubber has raised a lot of questions about its safety for those who play in/on it.

A small handful of studies have been conducted regarding the use of synthetic turfs but the studies have not been large enough to concretely determine if there is a risk to health from them. In an interview with the Huffington Post, EPA spokeswoman Laura Allen stated the current existing studies conducted by local, state, and federal government agencies “were not designed, nor were they sufficient in size or scope, to draw conclusions about the safety of all fields across the nation.” With the growing concerns and the lack of research, in 2016 the EPA started new research on recycled tire crumb used in playing fields.

Outside of the limited and ongoing research, multiple people have been informally tracking cancer diagnosis of athletes who regularly played on synthetic fields. Amy Griffin, former goalkeeper for the US National team, has tracked a correlation between artificial fields and cancer diagnosis in more than 200 athletes. Ethan Zohn, a former professional goalkeeper who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, has also tracked more than fifty athletes that once played on synthetic fields who now have cancer. Though the correlation does not equal causation, there are a lot of similarities in their lists that need to be explored further, including the fact that the majority of these athletes have been diagnosed with Lymphoma, outpacing Leukemia, the most common cancer in young adults.

With mounting concerns and lack of research, some school boards and local municipalities have already put a freeze on installation of new crumb fields, with some going as far to remove and replace fields they already had installed. While we wait on new research from the EPA to be completed, we also need to stop and demand more from the manufacturers. The questions now being posed, the concerns about health related safety of the fields, should have been addressed with thorough hazard and risks analysis before being released as a product option.  Their product engineers are the first line to consumer safety.

What do you think? Are you concerned with the hazards of crumb rubber? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.

Additional Reading:
Worries Mount Over Potential Link Between Artificial Turf And Cancer from The Huffington Post
Turf Battle: The Controversy Over Crumb Rubber Playing Fields from CBS Denver
Federal Research on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields from the EPA

Santa Claus Surrogates: Toy Safety Guide

toy-safetyIf you’re playing Santa Claus for kids this year, get informed before you do your shopping. There are toys out there on the naughty list for being unsafe and you don’t want to give them to the children you love.

While the burden for toy safety should fall on manufacturers, surrogate Santa Clauses must still be alert. There are over three billion toys sold in the US each year and it’s hard to check all of them for compliance, ensuring manufacturers are following certification processes. In 2007 alone there were 30 million toys recalled, and those are just the ones that were caught. With more than 5,000 toys being introduced in the US each year, enforcement of safety standards is difficult.

From small, breakable parts to chemicals and lead based paint, there is a lot to look for when choosing the perfect toys. Listen in as Kevin King discusses toy safety and what you need to know to find toys safe toys on the nice list.

Additional resources for toy safety information include:

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.

Bouncing Into Injury: Trampoline Hazards & Risks

TrampolineThat common backyard toy your kids continue to ask you for is more than just a toy; trampolines are a money pit and injury waiting to happen.

In 2013 alone there were more than 286,000 reported injuries due to trampolines including broken bones, spinal injuries, and head injuries. Ninety percent of the injuries were from kids ages 5-13. You might believe adult supervision and safety nets could reduce these injuries but that is not the case. One third of these injuries occurred while under adult supervision and there is no data showing that trampoline netting helps reduce injuries.

What’s the cost of all of this? In 2014, trampoline injuries had an economic cost of $9 BILLION from medical and legal cost to time off of work and pain and suffering.

Listen in as Kevin King discusses the hazards and risks of backyard trampolines. He’ll also discuss how trampoline parks are equally dangerous and what steps you have to take to stay safe if you are determined to keep a backyard trampoline.

Want more information on the hazards of trampolines? Review these articles and position statements.

Trampoline Park and Home Trampoline Injuries from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Trampoline Safety in Childhood Adolescence from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Trampolines and Trampoline Safety from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Trampolines Are Dangerous Even with Nets from momsTeam

Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.