As first-time parents of a handsome 4-month-old boy, my husband and I are trying to do everything right when it comes to safety and the products we use in our home. We practice the ABCs of safe sleep. We bought and installed a car seat and had it inspected before our son was born. We took an infant CPR class. We use travel mugs when drinking coffee near our son so we don’t spill and burn him.
I checked every gift and hand-me-down for recalls before cleaning it and putting it to use. I registered all our new products like his car seat, highchair, crib and stroller so I would be alerted if they were recalled.
Our son was born a few weeks early so I didn’t have time to look up the last few gifts we received. One of these gifts was a “sit-to-walk” toy. Now, I love toys that serve more than one function, this one didn’t quite sit right. I looked it up on recalls.gov but didn’t see anything. I couldn’t find a brand name anywhere on the product or the manual and the only retailer I could find that carried it was a toy store in another country, meaning it probably doesn’t meet US regulatory standards.
I know about the dangers of baby walkers. But was this really a baby walker? It looks like a stationary activity center with wheels that could be locked – and can be transformed into a pusher toy (think flattened shopping cart), as well.
While it would be ok to use stationary or as a pusher toy with certain precautions, I knew it was definitely unsafe to use with baby in the seat and wheels activated. Since I couldn’t be sure it met US standards, I didn’t trust it to use in its other forms.
How could it be that I had an unsafe toy under my roof for nearly five months and didn’t know about it? As any new parent can attest, I had a lot of other things going on and was not the most well-rested. So, once I determined that this toy wasn’t safe, what did I do? As wasteful as it seems, I disassembled it and threw away its pieces separately so nobody else could use this dangerous product.
While I know it will be a difficult conversation, I will ask my friend where she got it and suggest she purchases child products from more reliable sources. I wouldn’t want her to buy similarly risky products for herself or others.
For more information on how to keep kids safe and prevent injuries in the home, click here.
Laura Dattner is a research writer in the Center for Injury Research and Policy. With both a health communications and public health background, she works to translate pediatric injury research into meaningful, accurate messages which motivate the public to make positive behavior changes.
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