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How can I find out about recalled baby products?
Q: When I take my 1-year-old granddaughter to her doctor’s check-ups, I notice that there are posted warnings of recalled toys and baby equipment. How do I know if there’s anything at home that’s unsafe for my granddaughter? I have a lot of old and hand-me-down stuff. Is there anything I should look out for?
Gladys Albany
A: Gladys, it’s important to be aware of anything in your child’s home environment—toys, furniture, clothes, household products, food, etc.—that might be dangerous for your granddaughter. At 1 year old, your granddaughter is probably able to crawl and is beginning to walk and climb. One-year-olds are very curious and want to explore the world around them. They can choke on small objects, strangle themselves with cords, burn or poison themselves and fall from heights.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) identifies products that are unsafe for children. Some old and hand-me-down items are still safe for children, but many have been found to be unsafe. To get a list of the recalled products, send a postcard to Recall Round-Up List, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington D.C. 20207. If you want to receive announcements of recalls, register at www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.asp.

The CPSC has identified several items that are very common in homes and hazardous to children. Check for these in your home:
  • An old cot that does not meet current safety standards. These can entrap, strangle and suffocate children. If your cot does not meet safety standards (see www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/5030.pdf), replace it with a safe cot.

  • Children’s jackets and sweatshirts with hood and neck drawstrings. These can get caught on playground equipment and strangle children. If your granddaughter’s clothes have head or neck drawstrings, remove them.

  • Window blinds with pull cords and inner cords. These can form a loop and strangle children. If your window blinds have pull cords, tie them up out of reach, replace the pulls with safer split versions, or replace the blinds with safer blinds or curtains.
For more information on safety for young children, visit www.safekids.org.

Karen Sokal-Gutierrez M.D., M.P.H. Pediatrician