76 Recalls Made 2016 a Bad Year for Injured Children

About 66.8 million units of children’s products were recalled in 2016, with a total of 76 recalls found by Kids in Danger (KID). According to KID’s report, recalls were up 12% from the previous year and reached the highest level in more than a decade.

Incidents, deaths and injuries increased, with a total of 392 injuries, 4,842 incidents and seven deaths.

The report showed that nursery products accounted for 32% of the recalls.

Several major companies had recalls in 2016. McDonalds recalled 29 million Happy Meal fitness trackers after they caused burns and rashes. IKEA recalled 29 million top-heavy dressers that were susceptible to tipping over.

The second-largest recall in 2016 was Tommee Tippee’s spill-proof cups.

“The sippy cups have a dangerous design flaw that makes complete cleaning nearly impossible and allows bacteria and mold to flourish,” said injury lawyers at Ankin Law Office. “The company recalled 2.25 million sippy cups over this flaw, but not before it caused 68 severe gastrointestinal problems and infections.”

Three manufacturers recalled multiple products. In addition to dressers, IKEA also recalled bat cape costumes, safety gates, drumstick sets and drums.

IKEA products account for seven deaths and 49 injuries.

Suffocation, choking, entanglement or entrapment risks accounted for 37% of recalls. Nearly one-third of the recalls (32%) pose laceration, fall and other bodily injury risks.

Flammability, electrical shock and burn risks accounted for 17% of the recalls. Ingestion, lead, poisoning and illness risks accounted for 16% of the recalls, while drowning risks accounted for 3% of product pulls.

KID’s report also found that manufacturers are slow to react to reports of injury or death. The report found that it took, on average, 64 reports of serious design failures and flaws for a manufacturer to recall a product.

According to the report, Pacific Cycle received 215 injury reports related to its Instep and Schwinn Swivel Wheel Jogging Strollers prior to recall.

In 2015, there were an average of 12 reports made before a product was recalled. In 2014, products were pulled from shelves after only five reports, on average.

While KID found that manufacturers could do more to pull products from shelves more quickly, progress is being made in spreading the word about recalls. The report found that 59% of companies used Facebook to inform consumers about dangerous products.

Still, more needs to be done to improve child product safety, KID says.

“Despite improvements in standards and social media use, recalls are still happening too slow and too little is done to get the product out of homes,” said Nancy Cowles, KID’s Executive Director, in a statement. “KID is making this our priority for 2017 and we hope other stakeholders, including [the Consumer Product Safety Commission], will as well.”

KID recommends that companies move more quickly to remove products that cause injuries or death. Waiting to recall, they said, only increases the risk of harm.

Consumers should also do their part to be aware of recalls. To improve awareness, KID recommends that companies use multiple outlets to announce hazardous products, including social media.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.