Odds are you bought or received a lot of products for your kids this holiday season but don't throw out those extra papers that are in with the instructions. You'll want to save the product registration postcard that's in that paperwork because it could save your child's life.
16-month-old Danny Keyser, 10-month-old Riley Grasseth and eight-month-old Ethan Hauser's parents never knew their children's portable cribs and play yards were dangerous and recalled due to a deadly defect. All Ethan's mother, Laura, has left are memories and photos of her little boy. Four years before Ethan was even born, a recall notice was issued for his portable crib. But the family who originally bought it never found out, and eventually the "hand me down" play pen, with defective side rails, was given to the Hauser's. Laura sas the play pen fell in a V and Ethan's neck got trapped and he actually asphyxiated, suffocated and died.
Each year millions of children's products are recalled because of safety defects and many families, like Ethan's, tragically never know. A new federal law now requires companies that make "durable infant and toddler products" include a pre-stamped post card with every crib, play yard, stroller and many other kinds of baby products they sell. Parents just fill in their contact information and mail the card or go online to register. If there's ever a recall, the company can notify them directly. Problem is a new survey by the Consumer Federation of America found 61 percent of adults with children under twelve did not know this new notifcation system exists. "It could mean that a parent never finds out about a recall, about a recall of product that could cause a devastating injury or even death," says Rachel Weintraub, Director of Product Safety and Senior Counsel for the Consumer Federation of America.
The new notification law is named after Danny Keyser. He died in a daycare center's portable crib that was recalled five years before he was born. The child care center never knew about the recall. Danny's mother pushed for the change and founded the child advocacy group Kids in Danger. It wants parents to know companies cannot use their contact info from the registrations for marketing. It is only to notify them of recalls. Nancy Cowles with Kids in Danger says the law makes it illegal for companies to use information on the product registration card for any other purpose.
Some good news: the Consumer Federation's survey also found when parents learned about the new notification law 85 percent said they'd register in the future. Ethan's mom says doing something that's so easy could save your child's life and even the lives of others, and hopes 100 percent of parents register. "That's so important that parents should do that. I can't say enough that I wish we had this when Ethan was around and this play pen had been pulled from the market and someone had sent in that card."
Here are some helpful links to search for current and past imformation on recalls:
- Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Consumer Federation of America
- Kids in Danger
- We Make it Safer
- Keeping Babies Safe