Child safety seats are easier to use correctly and have clearer labels and instructions than in the past, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2005 Ease of Use Ratings.
Ninety-two car seats from 14 manufacturers were reviewed. Of the 92 seats tested, 74 received an A, 13 received a B and five had mixed scores. Even though surveys show more than 80 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly, no child restraints received a C rating overall.
To ensure a proper fit, try installing the safety seat before buying it. After purchase, have the installation checked at a child safety seat inspection station.
To find one, visit www. seatcheck.org or call (866) SEATCHECK. View the ratings at http:// www. nhtsa.dot.gov /CPS/CSSRating /Index.cfm.
Pool and water safety
Now that summer is here, more kids will be playing in the water and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has released safety reminders about pools and spas.
An average of 250 kids under age 5 die each year in swimming pools. Another 2,300 are treated in emergency rooms, mostly from submersion injuries sustained in residential pools.
The commission recommends surrounding every pool with a fence that has self-closing, self-latching gates to prevent access; keeping rescue equipment and a phone near the pool and learning CPR. If a child is missing, look in the water first.
For more on water safety, see story on page 33 or visit www.cpsc.gov.
Amusement park safety
A bill re-introduced in Congress this May aims to close a loophole that exempts amusement park rides from the Consumer Product Safety Act. The bill, called the National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act (H.R. 2500), was first introduced in 1999. While many states, including Illinois, have some regulations covering amusement park rides, others do not. This lack of national oversight makes it difficult to track injuries and incidents.
Visit the Saferparks Web site, www.saferparks.org, for an amusement park safety checklist.
• Fisher-Price push toys and pogo sticks. A child’s chin, jaw and teeth can get lodged in the opening at the top of the Fisher-Price Lil’ Wagster Dragster’s round handle. Nine injuries have been reported. The Fisher-Price Grow-To-Pro Pogo Sticks can get stuck in the down position and then release unexpectedly. Seventeen injuries have been reported.
• Children’s folding chairs. These chairs distributed by Summit Marketing are sold nationwide. The safety locks can fail, allowing them to collapse unexpectedly. Children’s fingers can become entrapped. There have been four reports of fingertip amputations and seven reports of lacerations or bruising to kids’ fingers.
• Delta Lov’s pacifiers. As with other pacifier recalls in the past, this pacifier fails national standards and can fall apart in a child’s mouth.
To report a problem with a product or to see the complete list of recalls, visit www.cpsc.gov. Nancy A. Cowles Executive director, Kids in Danger
Kids in Danger (www.KidsInDanger.org) is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting children by improving children’s product safety.