I have been going through all my son’s baby things trying to figure out what was usable and what wasn’t occasionally I would stumble on some things that were still in good condition, but most of it would go back in the big blue tub for memory keeping. Among these things are toys from my husband and my childhood, toys that I promptly remove from my son’s playful hands mere minutes after grandma has given it to him. Why? Well most of these toys are harmless, but some of them are downright dangerous, and others I feel have seen better days and may not be fit play things for a toddler. Our parents may not see anything wrong with the old spinning top, but I am seeing lead paint and any number of choking hazards. These things don’t pop into my mind because I am super familiar with the manufacturing of every toy or baby product on the market, but because I pay attention when something is recalled and try to store that information for the future. The trouble is many people don’t fully understand what a recall, ban, or standards are. This can make parenting confusing when you want the best for child but are unsure of what exactly is safe. Here are the quick definitions of the three things you should keep an eye on.
Standards: This is a pretty easy one, every product whether a crib or a blender has standards, these are basic regulations and safety precautions. For instance crib bars shouldn’t be more than a soda can width apart. This would be a standard. Not every standard is mandatory, but the products that exhibit a desire for safety usually meet or exceed these standards.
Recalls: A Recalled item usually is not completely unsafe but a piece of it has been incorrectly manufactured or it has been found to not perform as expected. Sometimes entire products are recalled when they are found to be unsafe. Drop side cribs would be a good example. The entire structure is not a hazard, but the drop side had been found to be unsafe for children. Many people still use these cribs with out realizing it. At this point the drop side crib then becomes a standard, and they are no longer to be made. It is quite often that a Recall will influence a standard.
Bans: Bans are bad business. Basically this product has been found to be extremely unsafe. It may have resulted in serious injury or death to more than one person. Bag Slings are banned. They are extremely unsafe and it is illegal for companies to sell them.
Okay so what should you do if you have a recalled/banned item? First off call either the manufacturer or the store you purchased the product from. If you filled out your registration card or registered online the manufacturer should notify you of any recalls. A piece of our Britax Chaperone was recalled and they sent a new piece right away. This is how it should work. If it has been a while since the purchase and you are unable to get a replacement or refund, then throw the item out. Do not sell at a garage sale, or list on craigslist. You may feel that the item functions fine but you do not want the possible guilt of something happening on your shoulders. If you see a banned or recalled item for sale, contact the seller and let them know that it is illegal to sell recalled and banned items, if they do not take the listing down flag the listing, or contact the web page. The first time I flagged something on craigslist I felt really bad, but I would have felt worse knowing that a baby could have been injured by faulty equipment.
(Some stores offer trade ins for older models and give a discount on new products, they will often accept recalled products. Babies R Us does this periodically.)
And so that you are in the Know, here are some recent Recalls:
Phil&Teds Metoo Chair(Serious Fall Hazard)
B.O.B. Strollers (canopy can cause entanglement Models from 2002-Feb2011)
Hyland’s Teething Tablets (Contain unsafe amounts of belladonna)
Maclaren Strollers (possible fingertip amputation from opening/closing stroller, models made before 2009)
Simplicity “Close-Sleeper/Bedside Sleeper” Bassinet (Strangulation hazard, models made before May 2008)