Posts Tagged ‘CPSC’

Crocs and Roller Sneakers and Wheelies, Oh My!

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

A Rainbow of Crocs

I've been reading lately that some schools are banning roller sneakers and Crocs. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, roller sneakers contributed to about 1,600 kids' ER visits in 2006 (the most recent data available on this) and school officials say Crocs can easily slip off and injure kids when they run at recess or play games in gym class.

Another item that is getting the evil eye in some schools is wheeled book bags/wheeled backbacks. Children often struggle to maneuver them through crowded school hallways, and other kids may trip over them, causing them to be banned.

Banning Crocs and roller sneakers? I can understand that. But I always thought of wheeled book bags as a good thing, as opposed to often-overloaded backpacks that can be too heavy for young kids. In fact I've written health-column items on backpacks in the past, and several doctors have said they prefer to see kids with the wheeled version. (Granted, it's best if the kids don't mow each other down in the hallways with them!)

What's on the banned list at your school? And what are your thoughts on Crocs, wheeled backpacks and roller sneakers?

Kids and ATVs — What Are We Thinking?

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008


I’ve been writing my kids’ health column, "Health Notes," for more than a decade, and every year, I receive the same sad statistics on kids and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Too many kids are dying here. Enough already!

More than 100 children died in ATV accidents in 2006 (the most current data available), according to the CPSC. An additional estimated 146,600 people were treated in emergency rooms for ATV-related injuries. More than a quarter of those were kids.

Pennsylvania has had the highest number of reported ATV deaths since 1982, followed by California, West Virginia, Texas and Kentucky. Every state had at least one death related to ATVs. Most of the deaths and injuries to children are the result of kids riding adult-size ATVs.

In more than 75 percent of the incidents where the vehicle’s speed could be determined, it appeared that the ATVs were going too fast for conditions. In nearly 60 percent of the deaths, riders were not wearing helmets. That’s just plain nuts. For younger riders, ages 6 to 11, about 30 percent of the ATV accidents involved collisions and at least 27 percent involved ATVs that rolled over.

Let’s get real. These things aren’t toys. They require proper instruction, helmet use, adult supervision and the proper size ATV for the child. Young kids simply can’t handle adult-sized ATVs safely. The CPSC — and emergency-room docs — can only ring the warning bell. It’s up to parents to do the rest.

Hey Kid, Strap on That Helmet!

Monday, December 17th, 2007


Every time I see a kid riding on a bike or a skateboard either without
a helmet or with a helmet that’s not strapped on, I want to stop him
and say "Are you nuts? Do your parents know you’re doing this?"

So
many kids seem to think that wearing an unstrapped helmet fulfills the
letter of the law. But it’s buckling that strap that will help keep a 12-year-old’s brain intact if he gets hit by an SUV.

In fact, in our town, a seventh-grade boy is
recovering right now from being hit by an SUV while riding his bike.
His injuries were severe, and he has a long recovery ahead of him, but
the doctors say he would probably have been killed if he hadn’t been
wearing a helmet.

"Each year about 300 children are killed
and more than 400,000 children go to hospital emergency rooms due to
bicycle injuries," says Consumer Product Safety Commission chairperson Ann Brown. "Children between 5 and 14 have the highest injury
rate of all bicycle riders, and bicycle accidents are the leading cause
of death in this age group."

The greatest tragedy is that many of these injuries
could be prevented if riders wore their helmets. "In fact, young
bicyclists can reduce the risk of head injury or death by up to 85
percent if they wear a helmet," she says.

Talk with your kids today about wearing a helmet — and buckling it —
whenever they’re on wheels. The life you save may be your child’s.

“Made in China” — Time for a Toy Boycott?

Friday, November 9th, 2007

Like a whole bunch of steaming parents today, I’m angry.

Aqua Dots, a craft-bead kit for kids, has been yanked from U.S. stores because the coating on the beads, which causes the beads to stick to each other when
water is added, contains a chemical that can turn toxic. Children who swallow the beads can become comatose, develop
respiratory depression or have seizures. A number of kids have been hospitalized after playing with the beads.

Apparently the company in China that makes Aqua Dots decided to switch out the glue on the product, substituting a (less-expensive, of course) substance that can kill when ingested. Gotta love their concern for kids.

The parade of Chinese-made toys that have been recalled due to safety issues has become a huge, scary issue for parents of young kids. And with the holidays on the way, I have to agree with Meredith Vieira, who, on the Today Show yesterday, suggested that parents might want to just stop buying toys made in China. In fact, Vieira’s off-hand suggestion, at the end of a news piece on the recall, seemed more helpful than that from a Bush-administration rep who said something to the effect of "We recommend buying toys from someone you trust."

How is a parent supposed to know which major toy manufacturers to trust when even Mattel, whom parents have trusted for years, has ended up on the wrong end of the stick, more than once lately, when it comes to inadvertently selling toys that contain dangerous amounts of lead?

I guess President Bush is telling us we’re on our own on this one. So who can blame the woman who came into a Southern California store yesterday and told the clerk, "I just want to look at toys that aren’t made in China."

Good idea. If our leaders can’t protect us any more than they have been from toys containing lead and other toxic substances, I guess we’ll just have to look out for our own families — and vote with our wallet this holiday season.