Linda Ginzel and Boaz Keysar are professors at the University of Chicago. Their son, Daniel Keysar, was killed last May 12 by a defective crib. He was strangled at a licensed, daycare home when a Playskool Travel Lite portable crib collapsed and the top rail closed around his neck.
The defective crib had been recalled in 1993.
Three children died in this type of portable crib before the recall and a fourth died in 1995. Daniel Keysar became the fifth victim, but he wasn't the last victim. Last Aug. 19, William Curran, a 10-month-old New Jersey baby became the sixth child to die in a Playskool Travel-Lite portable crib.
Linda and Boaz learned that 1.5 million portable cribs of faulty design by five manufacturers have been recalled but 1.2 million may still be in use. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least 13 children have died in these deadly cribs.
The problem is like a minefield - most people don't even know it's a problem - they assume that if products are relatively new or if their friends are using products those products are safe. Parents, daycare and home-daycare centers have to educate themselves. Just because you bought something last month, doesn't mean it wasn't recalled this month. You have to keep on top of recalls!
Call the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the CPSC at 1-800-638-2772 and ask the agency to put your name on its mailing list. You can get notice of all newly recalled products by mail, e-mail or fax.
The CPSC Web site is www.cpsc.gov
The CPSC can get products removed from store shelves once they are recalled, but can not get them out of peopleÂ's homes.
The CPSC makes every attempt to alert people about products that have been recalled. American manufacturers are required by law to report to the CPSC any hazards that they are aware of. When a manufacturer alerts the CPSC about a product recall, the CPSC puts its "Fast Track plan" into action. The agency can usually get a message out to the public within 220 business days. A media announcement is prepared and issued by the CPSC and the manufacturer. The notice is sent to television, radio stations and newspapers but there is no guarantee tho announcement will be broadcast or published.
Linda Ginzel and Boaz Keysar want manufacturers to take a more active role in getting the word out. They blieve that manufacturers should advertise to alert people about products they are recalling.
They also want manufacturers to:
- Conduct direct-mail campaigns to the same parents to whom they would market their products
- Increase the refunds offered if recalled products are returned.
The couple says research shows that if "bounty offers" are over the original cost of the product, more recalled products are returned. They also want more childrenÂ's products to have mandatory standards so they are safe before they hit store shelves.
Linda Ginzel and Boaz Keysar also believe that a comprehensive list of recalled products should exist. The CPSC says a list would never be comprehensive because new products are recalled all the time. Linda wants:
- a volume of recalled products to be published and put in libraries, for example, to be updated annually or bi-annually, similar to how an encyclopedia has yearly updates. The couple thinks the CPSC Web site providing information on product recalls doesn't reach enough people, as many don't have computers or access to the Internet. They also want:
- the CPSC to grade recalls for levels of risk to indicate to the public just how dangerous certain products can be.
They suggest that parents and other child care providers check all the equipment in their homes, child care centers, relatives' homes, grandparents' homes or any place where children are going to be. A product bought today can be recalled tomorrow.
They also encourage people to try to influence legislation in their states and push for mandatory regulation of products. For example, Linda and Boaz have been behind legislation that was just introduced in Illinois - the Children's Product Safety Act. The legislation would, among other things:
- make it illegal to sell or lease dangerous children's products, including those that have been recalled.
To obtain a booklet that Child Magazine has put together of the best-selling juvenile products recalled in the past six years,
send a $2.00 shipping and handling fee to Child Magazine at: Recall Alert, 375 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10017
For more information on Kids in Danger you can check the Web site at: www.kidsindanger.org
Also, if you want to get on the Consumer Product Safety Commission recall mailing list or tell the agency about a product that concerns you, call 1-800-638-2772.
The CPSC website is www.cpsc.gov
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