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NHTSA Launches Recall Awareness Campaign

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NHTSA-babyleg-160x600Safe cars play a big role in passenger safety. You can be a great driver who always wears a seatbelt, but if your brakes fail all bets are off. Yet each year, a quarter of recalled vehicles go unfixed. Last year there were 900 recalls affecting 51 million vehicles. If 25% of them went unrepaired, that means there are almost 13 million vehicles on the road with potential safety issues—and that’s just from last year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to change that. They recently launched a new campaign called “Safe Cars Save Lives,” aimed at getting people to check their Vehicle Identification Numbers twice a year for recalls, and to get their vehicles repaired as soon as possible. Dealerships will perform recall fixes for free.

NHTSATo make this easy to remember, NHTSA recommends checking for recalls when you change your clocks for daylight savings in March and November (which is also when you should change the batteries in smoke detectors).

You can check for recalls at this page using a VIN or by looking up makes and models.

NHTSA also held a workshop with industry leaders and researchers to examine why so many recalls go unfixed. Based on discussion from that workshop, NHTSA is asking for input about how recalls can better be communicated to consumers, and how consumers can be encouraged to get their cars fixed. Possible solutions include using electronic communication (texts or emails) rather than or in addition to the traditional mailed notices. You can read about the initiative here and can submit your comments.

Safe and Secure? Your Furniture Should Be

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Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 9.08.36 AMThe week leading up to the Super Bowl is one of the country’s busiest times for buying TVs. But before you kick back with your new big screen, take a few minutes to make sure that TV is safe for your family. And while you’re at it, make your other furniture safe, too.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is ramping up its “Anchor It” campaign, focused on making sure furniture and TVs are anchored to a wall to prevent tip-overs on small children. According to the CPSC, a child is injured by falling TVs or furniture every 24 minutes, and a child dies from it every two weeks.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably wear your seatbelt and properly strap your child into an appropriate car seat every time you get in the car. But is anything securing your TV right now? Are your dressers anchored to your walls?

This isn’t the kind of accident anyone is immune from. Even CarseatBlog’s own Alicia, a safety advocate and nurse, had a brush with a dresser tipping over onto her child. Alicia’s son was lucky. A woman in my local SafeKids organization was not. She’s one of the moms featured in this powerful video from CPSC:

Tip-over injuries are so preventable with just a few minutes and the right materials. You can find information on how to secure your furniture and TVs at the CPSC’s page here. Many TVs and pieces of furniture come with anchor kits. If not, or if you have older items to secure, you can find anti-tip kits at home improvement stores or at Amazon.

To paraphrase one of the women in that video, a hole in your wall is far preferable to a hole in your heart.

2016 Graco Extend2Fit Recall

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Graco Extend2Fit - stockThe Graco Extend2Fit just hit the shelves, but there’s already a recall on some seats. Not to worry, though: The recall is very minor and does not affect the safety of the seat.

The issue is that seats sold in the U.S. need to have labels in both English and Spanish. On some Extend2Fits, the wording on some of the recline labels (identifying positions 1-6) got mixed up, so there’s English on the Spanish side or vice-versa.

If you have an Extend2Fit, check to see if the labels are entirely in English on one side of the seat and entirely in Spanish on the other. If the languages are mixed together, you can call Graco for replacement labels. The seat is perfectly safe to use in the meantime.

Wording of the recall from the Graco website:

Potential Problem:

Over the past 60 years, safety has been and will continue to be our priority at Graco. As part of our continuous effort to provide quality and safe products, Graco has discovered that the recline label on a small portion of the Extend2Fit convertible car seats manufactured between November 27, 2015 to January 20, 2016 does not meet regulatory guidelines. While the affected products represent less than one percent of those produced, Graco is recalling the recline label on the affected car seats and providing owners with a free replacement label that can be applied directly to the car seat. The affected Extend2Fit convertible car seats are part of the Campaign fashion sold in the United States.

Injuries Reported: 0

Number of Units Affected: 15,064

Dates Produced: Manufactured between November 27, 2015 – January 20, 2016

MSRP: $199.99

Models Affected: 1954477

Solution:

To verify if a car seat is included in this recall, caregivers should check their model number and date of manufacture. In addition, caregivers should confirm whether their recline label is correct by examining all labels on the side of the car seat (including the recline label which identifies positions 1 through 6) to determine they are in the same language (i.e. all English (including the recline label) on one side of the car seat and all Spanish on the other side of the car seat). If the languages are the same, caregivers can continue to use their car seat without hesitation as instructed in the owner’s manual; the car seat does not need a new label as provided by the recall. If the recline label is incorrect because the languages on the side of the car seat do not match, then caregivers can contact the Graco consumer services team at 1-800-345-4109 (Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm ET) to order a free replacement recline label.

Click here to see if you are affected, or contact Graco toll-free at 800-345-4109 Monday – Friday from 8 am to 5 pm EST. The model number and date of manufacture can be found on the white label located on the bottom of the car seat.

Are your kids safe in their cart-seat?

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shopping cartsShopping carts: They’re something we use almost every time we go to the grocery store, but behind their helpful exterior lurks a potential danger. A child in America is treated in an emergency room every 22 minutes for injuries sustained by shopping carts.

According to data from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, 530,494 children were treated in emergency rooms between 1990 and 2011 for cart-related injuries, and despite voluntary safety standards adopted in 2004, the rate of injury is actually climbing.

The vast majority of injuries (more than 70%) are from falls from the cart, followed by running over/into the cart, cart tip-overs, and entrapment of body parts. The most common type of injury was head injury (78%), and researchers found a 200% increase in concussions over the study period. Most of these injuries were in children 4 and younger.

kid shopping cartExperts say that redesigning carts to have seating areas lower to the ground would be safer both because children wouldn’t have as far to fall and because it would lower the cart’s center of gravity, making it less prone to tipping over. Until that happens (and even if it does) here are some ways you can help keep your kids safe:

  • Never prop infant seats on top of shopping carts. (We’ve written about that before). It’s better to place the seat in the basket of the cart, use a separate stroller (which might require another person), use a built-in infant seat, or wear your baby for shopping trips.
  • Make sure your child is buckled in, whether in the regular shopping-cart seat or an integrated infant seat.
  • Choose carts that have seating areas lower to the ground.
  • Never allow children to stand up in the cart.
  • Never allow children to ride or hang off the front, back, or sides of a cart.
  • Stay with your cart and child at all times.

Shopping with little kids (or big ones!) can sometimes be emotionally painful, but don’t let it turn physically painful, too.