Hidden Hazards: 2022 Children’s Products Calls

March 24, 2023

High Number of Children’s Products Recalled Due to Excessive Levels of Lead, Violations of Federal Flammability Rules

New KID report finds highest number of children’s product recalls since 2013 

Chicago, IL – Today, Kids In Danger (KID) released a new report, Hidden Hazards: 2022 Children’s Products Recalls, analyzing children’s products recalls in 2022. Last year had the highest number of children’s product recalls since 2013; 100 recalls making up 34% of all products recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The report found that 19 children’s products were recalled due to excessive levels of lead content in 2022; the highest number of lead recalls in the last 10 years. Eight of the 19 products with high levels of were toys, and five were clothing items. Clothing recalls doubled over the past year, with 32 recalls. Most (22) were due to failure to meet federal flammability standards.

Four deaths were reported from recalled children’s products, prior to the recalls. Two of these deaths were associated with the Pillowfort Weighted Blankets; children can be asphyxiated if they unzip and climb into the blanket. The 4moms MamaRoo Baby Swing led to one death when a child was strangled by the restraint straps that dangled below the swing seat. The fourth death was associated with the Goalsetter Wall-Mounted Basketball Goal which can detach and fall.

”We see an increase in recalls overall, including those that violate the lead limits in CPSC’s requirements and flammability requirements,” stated Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of KID. “Both have been requirements for decades and it is frustrating to see so many violations that put children at risk. It appears many are sold in online marketplaces, highlighting again the need to increase efforts to make online shopping safer.”

KID was joined in releasing the report by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Illinois PIRG, Illinois Action for Children, and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

“Kids In Danger’s latest recall report is a wakeup call – we are continuing to see deaths and injuries both before and after product recalls. This is especially true in the case of children’s products,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. “Section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act prevents the Consumer Product Safety Commission from telling the public about potentially dangerous products without the company’s permission. Simply put, it protects companies over consumers. This cannot stand, so I am reintroducing my Sunshine in Product Safety Act with Senator Blumenthal in the coming days so that the Consumer Product Safety Commission is fully empowered to promptly warn people about dangerous products. This bill puts consumers first and will save lives. But it will not be enough alone. Companies must do more to retrieve recalled products quickly and effectively. Together we can end these preventable deaths and injuries and ensure the safety of our children.”

Additional findings of the report include:

  • The CPSC released warnings to consumers about five hazardous children’s products without recalling the products. The warnings were for the BabyRescue Rapid Evacuation Devices, Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rockers and Newborn-to-Toddler Rockers (13 reported deaths between 2009 and 2021), Kids2 Bright Starts and Baby Einstein Rockers (one reported death), and the DockATot Deluxe Plus Dock.
  • Social media usage by the CPSC and recalling companies to alert consumers about recalled products remained low. The CPSC posted 42% of children’s product recalls on Facebook and 47% on Twitter. However, the CPSC’s use of Instagram increased to 34%, compared to 5% in 2021, as they started posting the recalls as Instagram story highlights. Only 37% of recalls were posted to companies’ Facebook pages, 32% on Twitter, and 28% on Instagram.
  • Recalling companies’ monthly progress reports regarding recall activity continue to be sporadically and incompletely filled. KID filed 64 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for recalls in 2021 and received only 38 reports, many with missing or incorrect data.

“As a pediatrician, I strive to keep children healthy and injury free. Our world is designed to serve adults and parents need to buy safety products to modify their homes and cars to keep their children safe. The Hidden Hazards report helps me to focus my advice to families on what consumer products pose the greatest risk to their children,” said Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities.

“We thank KID for calling attention to recall effectiveness,” said Abe Scarr, Director of Illinois PIRG Education Fund. “Last October, for our annual Trouble in Toyland report, PIRG researchers purchased and received more than 30 recalled toys from U.S.-based online sellers, including Facebook Marketplace and eBay. We agree with KID that the Consumer Product Safety Commission and recalling companies should use the resources at their disposal to better promote recalls to the public.”

“One hundred children’s product recalls, the highest in 10 years, is unacceptable,” said April Janney, CEO of Illinois Action for Children. “Much of the progress made a decade ago to create safe products is erased when recalls occur at this rate. We must remember these product recalls often come after a child is injured or worse. We fully support KID’s recommendations. It’s gravely important that the CPSC push more stringent standards on manufacturers and mandate stronger recall tracking, corrective action and consumer notification protocols.”

KID recommends the following:

  • Recalling companies must use all tools at their disposal to retrieve recalled products. This includes social media for every recall, and other measures such as direct notification of consumers and marketing recalls to the same extent as they market products.
  • Recalling companies should work with retailers, marketers, consumer groups and state and local governments to spread information about the recall more widely and to reach more consumers.
  • Online platforms should strengthen efforts to ensure all products sold on their sites are safe, meet any required standards and adequately warn consumers about product hazards.
  • The CPSC should continue to issue unilateral notifications to consumers about a hazardous product when the company does not agree to a recall and should do everything in its power to get unsafe products recalled.
  • The CPSC should improve its capabilities to provide accurate recall effectiveness data both through the FOIA process and by making recall effectiveness metrics public. • Policymakers should provide adequate funding for the CPSC to fulfill its mission.
  • Parents and caregivers should report product incidents to the CPSC at SaferProducts.gov and subscribe to KID’s newsletter to receive a monthly recall digest at www.kidsindanger.org. Read the full report here. — Founded in 1998, Kids In Danger (KID) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children by fighting for product safety. KID’s mission is to save lives by enhancing transparency and accountability through safer product development, better education, and stronger advocacy for children. www.kidsindanger.org.

Read the full report