March 2011 Archives

March 28, 2011

New Product Safety Database Launched by CPSC

A new product safety information database has been launched by the federal government, giving consumers a one-stop online portal to report and research hazards in almost every kind of product under the retail sun. The new www.SaferProducts.gov was launched by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on March 13.

You can use the new SaferProducts.gov database to:

  • report any actual injury caused by a consumer product,
  • report on safety risks you've noticed in certain dangerous products, and
  • research the safety record of products you own or are thinking about buying.

So, how does the product safety risk reporting system work? After a consumer submits an online report to SaferProucts.gov -- detailing an injury or safety hazard linked to a product -- CPSC reviews the report to make sure it contains all required information. Qualifying reports are then sent to the product's manufacturer, and that company has 10 days to respond to and/or comment on the consumer's claims about the product's safety. After those 10 days, the consumer's report and the manufacturer's response are posted on the SaferProducts.gov database. (Manufacturers can also register their companies on SaferProducts.gov using the Business Portal.)

You can learn more about the new SaferProducts.gov in this Q&A from CPSC.

March 21, 2011

Child Safety Seats: New Guidelines for Parents

New federal guidelines on child passenger safety advise parents to keep their kids in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible, to keep them as safe as possible in a vehicle accident.

The new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines come on the heels of a recent American Academy of Pediatrics study, which looked at safety data on car accidents involving young children, and concluded that parents should keep kids in rear-facing seats until they're at least two years old or have clearly outgrown the seat. In short, parents shouldn't treat their kids' graduation to a forward-facing seat as an age-based milestone. As the NHTSA puts it, "there is no need to hurry to transition a child to the next restraint type."

You can read the press statement and new age-based child passenger safety guidelines on the NHTSA's website, but here's an outline for parents and caregivers to follow:

  • Birth to 12 Months: Always keep your child in a rear-facing car seat.
  • 1 Year to 3 Years: Keep your child in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible. New studies show that a rear-facing seat is the best option for keeping your child safe in a car accident.
  • 4 Years to 7 Years: Your child should be kept in a forward-facing car seat equipped with a harness, until they've outgrown the seat.
  • 8 Years to 12 Years: Use a booster seat until your child is big enough to use a seat belt properly.

The new child safety seat recommendations are largely based on a combination of two factors that are unique to a young child's physical development: disproportionately large heads, and bones and musculature that may not be up to the task of providing adequate support for the head in an accident.

For more help understanding and complying with child restraint laws, check out and this Child Safety Portal from the NHTSA and this Chart of State-by-State Child Passenger Safety Laws.