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Child Safety Recalls and Injuries from Defective Products Increased in 2016: Report

New findings released by a children’s safety nonprofit organization indicates that both recalls and injuries linked to products commonly used by kids increased last year, leading to calls for changes to the recall process. 

The report was announced in a statement (PDF) by the group Kids In Danger (KID) this week, indicating that child safety recalls increased 12% in 2016, when compared to the previous year, and that injuries and fatalities from recalled products also increased.

The group is a nonprofit that monitors children’s products and lobbies to enact measures that will prevent injuries caused by unsafe products and delayed recalls.

In the annual “KID Report Card” (PDF), the group analyzed all recall data recorded by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for 2016. Researchers compared this data to previous years, to determine whether children’s products are becoming safer and whether recalls are initiated in a timely fashion to prevent additional injuries.

According to the findings, there were a total of 76 children’s product recalls consisting of over 66.8 million units recalled in 2016, which is an increase from 2015. Of the total 332 recalls issued by the CPSC in 2016, 76 involved children’s products and an additional 24 nursery products were recalled, making up nearly 30% of the total number of recalls.

Injury and fatality data indicated a sharp increase in 2016, when compared to 2015, with a total of 4,842 incidents reported, resulting in 394 injuries and seven deaths before recalls were issued.

One of the most significant increases recognized during the analysis was the vast increase in the number of problems reported prior to recalls. On average, it took 64 reports of serious design flaws and failures to pull dangerous products from the shelf in 2016, which represents a drastic increase from the average of 12 in 2015, and five in 2014.

Despite an increase in recalls issued by manufacturers, the data indicates a growing issue with recall speed, and the rate at which manufacturers acknowledge their products pose a danger for children.

KID recommends that manufacturers put additional efforts in place to recognize injury reports and trends more quickly, to prevent further injuries.

One example KID outlines in their report of delayed recalls was the IKEA MALM dresser recall, which was issued due to unsafe manufacturing specifications that allowed the furniture pieces to easily fall over and crush and suffocate children if not anchored. Despite hundreds of tip-over reports over the last several decades, IKEA previously refused to recall the MALM dresser series furniture, resulting in at least three preventable deaths and hundreds of injuries.

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