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Playing With Danger At Daycare

Is your daycare center dangerous?

It could be, if it's not checking for recalled products.

Children have died in daycare centers using recalled products. So you would think that centers would be required to check for these dangers.

But, as Consumer Correspondent Susan Koeppen reports on Monday's The Early Show, that's not always the case.

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She spoke with Linda Ginzel, who will never forget how her 16-month-old son Danny was killed by a recalled product.

"I walked up to the door and they said there's been an accident," she said, "We spent a lot of years trying to figure out what had happened and why it happened."

Linda and her husband Boaz Keysar had put Danny in a licensed daycare facility, thinking he'd be safe.

But Danny was killed during nap time.

He was in a Playskool Travel Lite Crib when the side collapsed, catching his neck, suffocating him.

"We thought it was a freak accident. You know, once in a million. Bad timing. Bad luck," she said.

What Danny's parents and the daycare center didn't know was that the crib had been recalled by the government five years earlier.

It had already killed several children.

"It was a completely preventable death. Completely preventable," said Keysar.

His wife added, "We were shocked, shocked. We couldn't believe that other children had died and we hadn't heard about this."

Every year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls dozens of dangerous children's products - but that information doesn't always reach the people who need it most - like parents and daycare centers.

Nancy Cowles is the Executive Director of Kids in Danger - a safety organization started by Linda and Boaz after their toddler's death.

She showed examples of dangerous recalled products, like one baby swing.

"There's no crotch strap or restraint to catch the child as they slide down. This gets around their neck and they end up suffocating."

She said it's easy for recalled products to end up in daycare centers because the danger is not always obvious.

"These are not flaws that are easily seen. It's not a broken part. It's not something you can look at and tell is dangerous. You have to know it's recalled to know it's unsafe."

Part of the problem, said Consumer Product Safety Commission Spokesman Eric Criss, is that most states don't require daycare centers to check if they're using recalled products.

Criss said its a huge challenge for the CPSC to reach all the people who have these dangerous products.

In the case of Danny Keysar, his daycare center had been inspected just days before his death. But the deadly recalled crib went unnoticed.

"Five years after this crib had been recalled it was still in a daycare center," said Linda.

Criss acknowledged it's a significant problem.

"It's dangerous and you bring up a good point about daycare centers. Our staff did a report a few years ago and there are a lot of recalled products in daycare centers."

Kids in Danger is trying to change that.

Thanks to its efforts, the state of Illinois now requires licensed day care facilities to verify they aren't using recalled products.

Michigan, Rhode Island, Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri have followed suit, passing similar laws.

But Linda and Boaz said until these laws are passed in all states, recalled products will continue endangering innocent children in daycare facilities.

"Had the recall been effective, it would have been prevented. Danny did not have to die," said Boaz.

The Playskool Travel Lite Crib that killed a 16-month-old Danny Keysar is no longer made.

But its manufacturer, Kolcraft, says it's deeply concerned that the crib may still be in use.

Kolcraft says it has worked aggressively to get the word out to consumers to stop using the cribs and to destroy them.

Here's how parents and daycare centers can make sure their products are safe:

  • Make a list of all the products that are being used in their daycare centers. For example, cribs, high chairs, swings, toys.
  • Do a check.
  • Go online. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a list of all recalled products.
  • Sign up for recall alerts.

    You will get an e-mail notice when something has been recalled.

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