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SafetyAlerts
February 28,  2002

Safety Hazards in Child Care Settings
 

(SafetyAlerts) -

Overview
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff conducted a national study to identify potential safety hazards in 220 licensed child care settings across the country in October and November 1998.

CPSC staff investigated eight product areas with potential safety hazards: cribs, soft bedding, playground surfacing, playground surfacing maintenance, child safety gates, window blind cords, drawstrings in children's clothing, and recalled children's products.

Four types of licensed child care settings were visited: federal General Services Administration child care centers, non-profit centers, in-home settings, and for-profit centers.

Overall, two-thirds of the child care settings exhibited at least one of the safety hazards targeted in the study.

About 31,000 children, 4 years old and younger, were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for injuries at child care/school settings in 1997. CPSC is aware of at least 56 children who have died in child care settings since 1990.

Introduction

CPSC has long been concerned about hazards in the home, especially as they affect young children. Because similar hazards may be present in organized child care settings, CPSC staff conducted a national study of potential dangers in these settings to identify how to help prevent injuries and ensure greater safety for children.

Some hazards are obvious -- like playground surfacing that has worn thin and is littered with debris. Other hazards are "hidden" -- dangers that may not come immediately to mind as problems. Issues investigated in the child care study -- like the dangers of window blind cords or drawstrings on children's clothing -- are prime examples of hidden hazards.

Many child care settings provide safe environments for young children. Each year, however, thousands of children in child care settings are injured seriously enough to need treatment in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Tragically, some of these children die from their injuries.

For example, CPSC is aware of at least 56 children who have died in child care settings since 1990. At least 28 of these children died from suffocation and/or asphyxia related to nursery equipment or soft bedding. About 31,000 children, 4 years old and younger, were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for injuries at child care/school settings in 1997. Eight thousand of these injuries occurred from falls on playgrounds.

Background

There are 21 million children under age 6 in this country; almost 13 million of them are placed in non-parental child care during some portion of the day. About 29% of these children are in center-based care, including day care centers, Head Start programs, and nursery schools. The other 71% of these children are in non-center-based care, including family child care, in-home child care, and care by a relative.

There are about 99,000 licensed child care centers. In addition, there are about 283,000 regulated or licensed family child care providers. In CPSC staff's review of state licensing requirements for child care, however, most of the hazards included in this child care study were not addressed. For example, although cribs are covered by both federal regulations and voluntary safety standards, many states did not require day care centers to use cribs that met all of these standards. Although virtually all child care settings use nursery equipment, like high chairs and strollers, none of the states reviewed had requirements for addressing recalled nursery equipment.


Source: CPSC

 
Selected Recent Recalls


Health Professional:

Did you know?
During 2000 there were over
1050 products recalled in the United
States for safety reasons!

How many did you hear about?

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The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that the Company believes to be reliable, however, the Company has not independently verified or confirmed the information and the recipient acknowledges that no representations or warranties are being made in connection with the use of the information.