Including the Infantino SlingRider, I've been hit with at least four baby product recalls since my daughter was born six months ago. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. According to a source at Consumer Reports, 50% of all recalls are for child-related items. Here's a list of the warnings that affected me and what I did to keep my baby safe:
1. Infantino SlingRider
I love the idea of a sling, but I knew something wasn't right with this one as soon as I tried to take it out for a test drive. No matter how I positioned my daughter, she just kept screaming. When I searched online for some helpful tips, I discovered Infantino recalled a previous model a few years back. While I never expected another recall, I decided not take any chances and promptly returned the SlingRider. Fortunately, I still had the gift receipt and no money was lost.
2. Drop-Side Cribs
Four years ago my parents lavished me with a beautiful drop-side crib that cost around $600. We rationalized the price tag by arguing that I could use it for a second baby. Since then more than a dozen children have died triggering a massive recall. The problem: children can fall between the mattress and the railing if the plastic hardware breaks.
My particular crib wasn't recalled but I'm still wondering if I should stop using it and buy a new one. Don Mays, who is the senior director for product safety at Consumer Reports, says he doesn't like any drop-side models and the ASTM no longer recognizes them. If I do keep mine, Mays recommends I regularly check and tighten the crib's hardware.
3. Roman Shades
Just a few weeks after I installed my Pottery Barn Roman-style shade it was recalled due to a strangulation hazard. I should have contacted the company right away for a repair kit but I was too overwhelmed with caring for a newborn to take action. While I could still send away for a repair kit, I've decided to just go out and buy something safer.
4. Maclaren Strollers
Back in November, Maclaren recalled about 1 million strollers after kids were losing fingertips in the hinges. I own two of these. Just days after the announcement, I was pleasantly surprised to meet a company representative at a local baby store who was handing out free hinge covers. Other families, however, may not have been so lucky and had to go through the hassle of ordering covers online.
The reality is that most families probably have recalled toys and other child-related gear sitting in their homes that they aren't even aware of. That's because products receive safety alerts all the time but parents typically don't hear about them in the news unless millions of consumers are affected. This may explain why consumers act upon warnings only about 30% of the time.
For a full list of the latest recalls, check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website.
Cousin Kim New Baby Boy image by Jon Ovington, CC 2.0.