Threats Under the Tree: Congress Addresses Holiday Products’ Dangers

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Dec. 3, 2021 -- Trista Hamsmith’s dependable shook Tuesday arsenic she recalled 1 past blessed representation of her year-old daughter, Reese, roaring astatine a artifact dinosaur.

The sassy, spunky miss wasn’t feeling herself 1 day, Hamsmith told a U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation subcommittee, truthful she took her to a doctor, who recovered that Reese had a fastener artillery from a TV distant lodged successful her esophagus. The tiny portion of metallic formed an electrical burn, and aft aggregate aesculapian procedures, the 18-month-old kid passed distant 2 months later.

During the vacation season, toys tin airs choking and different wellness hazards that tin endanger children’s lives, experts told the subcommittee, which heard grounds connected however to forestall these vacation hazards.

“With the holidays upon america again, who knows however galore unsecured and unsafe items volition beryllium fixed arsenic a acquisition with the champion intentions successful mind,” said Hamsmith, who has created a nonprofit called Reese's Purpose to pass parents of the dangers of fastener batteries similar the 1 her girl swallowed.

“Her earthly conflict whitethorn beryllium over, but her existent battle, her existent plan, and her existent intent person conscionable begun,” Hamsmith said.

The apical Democrat and Republican connected the Subcommittee connected Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security announced they are co-sponsoring a bill, to beryllium known arsenic Reese’s Law, to adhd merchandise information warnings and to unafraid batteries successful toys to forestall children from accidentally accessing them.

“We anticipation it volition beryllium approved promptly. The sooner it’s passed, the much children we tin protect,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the subcommittee chair.

According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates, determination were much than 12,500 cases of children nether property 18 ingesting artifact parts successful 2022.

There were besides astir 3,500 reported cases of ingested fastener batteries. But the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that lone 11% of these cases went reported. Ben Hoffman, MD, seat of the AAP Council connected Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, said the dangers spell beyond toys.

“Kids don't attraction whether thing is labeled a artifact oregon not,” helium said. “If you springiness a kid your car keys and that fob has fastener batteries successful it, that kid is going to research it and play with it.”

Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, the Republican co-sponsor of the bill, said counterfeit toys could bypass information standards. Toxic chemicals specified arsenic pb tin extremity up successful toys without consumers’ knowledge, said Joan Lawrence, elder vice president for standards and regulatory affairs for the Toy Association, a commercialized group.

Lawrence’s relation backs authorities specified arsenic the Informed Consumers Act and the Shop Safe Act to necessitate much transparency and trim the beingness of counterfeit products.

Hannah Rhodes, a user watchdog subordinate with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, said much oversight is needed of online platforms, arsenic immoderate recalled toys are inactive sold connected the internet.

“Online platforms should pass the consumers with arsenic overmuch accusation arsenic they tin astir who they are purchasing goods from,” she said.

Katrina Knapp, DO, a pediatrician astatine Bellevue Hospital successful New York City, said parents should instrumentality precautions by becoming CPR-certified, supervising play, and keeping unsafe items retired of children’s reach. She said that buying age-appropriate toys is key.

“If you instrumentality a insubstantial towel roll, effort to instrumentality a artifact successful the middle. And if it tin acceptable successful there, past it’s excessively tiny for your child,” she said.

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