Talking to Your Pediatrician: Product Safety
a guest post by Carson Gaffney, a Program Associate at Kids In Danger (KID), a nonprofit dedicated to keeping children safe by improving children’s product safety.
We recognize one of the most important relationships for a family with young children is their relationship with their child’s pediatrician. Caregivers should feel comfortable openly discussing their concerns with their child’s pediatrician – from health questions to issues of safe sleep and product safety.
Although families often have limited time with pediatricians, it’s important to get the information you need about safety issues such as 1) safe sleep, 2) choking and ingestion hazards, and 3) unsafe products or product recalls. Pediatricians are also likely to see patients who have experienced injuries due to unsafe children’s products – ask if there are any emerging hazards that they are aware of. Laundry pods, liquid nicotine, magnet ingestion, and other hazards commonly result in trips to the emergency room or pediatrician’s office.
Unfortunately, consistent access to a pediatrician may be difficult for some families. Outside of your relationship with your child’s pediatrician, any family can take advantage of resources offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Visit www.AAP.org or their site for caregivers, www.healthychildren.org, for detailed and evidence-based recommendations on a variety of safety issues:
- Safe Sleep: The AAP’s most recent guidelines were updated in October 2016, and include recommendations on room sharing, pacifiers, swaddling, and more. Access the guidelines here.
- Car Seat Safety: Many deaths and injuries in automobile accidents occur when children are not restrained properly, so finding the right car seat for their height and weight and installing it correctly can significantly improve your child’s safety. Access the guidelines here.
- Choking hazards: Did you know that balloons are the most common choking hazard? Other toys and items with small parts can also pose choking hazards for young children. Follow age recommendations on toys – these are based on safety testing. Access the guidelines here.
- Childproofing: The AAP also publishes a comprehensive guide to childproofing – these resources will help you navigate the childproofing process, from anchoring your furniture to proper storage for cleaning products and medicine. Access the guidelines here.
If you do experience an incident with an unsafe product, we encourage you to report that incident to your pediatrician and also to www.SaferProducts.gov, a consumer database that warns other families about hazards and informs the recall process.
By following these recommendations and communicating openly with your pediatrician, you can create a safer environment for your children.