Guidelines For Grandparents – Product Safety Standards Continue To Evolve

By Laura Nikolovska
Program Associate
Kids In Danger

More than 2 million grandparents have assumed the role of primary caregiver for their grandchildren, and all grandparents at some time care for their grandchildren and occasionally purchase children’s products. Yet a recent study by the United States Census Bureau found that many grandparents do not know the newest safety guidelines for children. The survey focused on appropriate sleep position, crib safety and car seat use. Below are the most recent safety guidelines for children in regards to these three areas:

  1. Babies must be put to sleep on their backs to help prevent SIDS.
  2. The crib should be bare – with only a snug mattress and tightly-fitted sheet. The survey found that almost 50 percent of grandparents thought soft bedding was safe for the child, but in fact, soft bedding poses a suffocation hazard.
  3. Children should remain in rear-facing car seats until two years of age. This is the safest possible position for children in the event of a crash.

Further, caregivers might be tempted to re-use old cribs and play yards, but it is important to know that there are tough new regulations for these products. By visiting the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) website at CPSC.gov you can learn more about these new safety standards and how they will help keep your grandchildren safer.

Kids In Danger (KID) has also developed a handy Yard Sale Safety Checklist that grandparents can bring with them as they shop for their grandchildren. The checklist is full of great advice for buying or using secondhand products, but here are our 3 favorite tips:

  1. A product with missing or broken pieces might seem like a good deal and an easy fix, but even if you can repair it that doesn’t ensure the product will be safe for your grandchild. Avoid buying items that will need repair.
  2. Do not waste your money on dangerous products like bath seats, baby walkers and crib bumper pads. Don’t think bargain when you see these items, think beware!
  3. We all attach sentimental value to things we’ve saved from when our own children were kids. But before you pull them out for the grand kids, remember that they may pose real hazards. For example, you shouldn’t use, buy, or sell cribs made before June 28, 2011 because they do not meet tough new federal standards. Even if your grandkids will only be using the product for a short time, they are still not safe to use.

Kids In Danger (KID) is a nonprofit organization focused on protecting children by improving child product safety. Our Debby Sayah Grandparent Outreach Program seeks to help grandparents protect their grandchildren from dangerous children’s products by providing lifesaving information on how to identify and remove these items from homes and other settings. The program was named in honor of Debby Sayah, grandmother to twins Andy and Jake. In 2001, Andy was killed by a foam sleep positioner when he was just 2 months old.

For more information safety information, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at safekids@altru.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.