March 11, 2010

Game Changer: CPSC Chairwoman Gives JPMA 'One Chance'

"Let's be frank - your seal of approval was on many of the recalled cribs in recent years."

Wow, have you read the speech CPSC Chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum made Wednesday at the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association "Washington Summit"? It's nothing short of amazing. In the six years I've been studying why and how we end up with the baby products we get, I've been a close observer--and an increasingly cynical critic--of the JPMA and the CPSC. And I can't think of anything comparable to this speech.

The single biggest impression is that the CPSC is going to move aggressively, in ways that we haven't seen for a generation at least, to set and enforce safety standards for kids products. They're crafting new crib safety standards right now. They're looking at hammocks and slings [heads up, Brooklyn!].

She urgedmanufacturers to address safety at the design and production stage, but also to build to exceed, not just meet published standards. And she said manufacturers have "one chance" to improve the standards required under the 2008 CPSIA law, and then the CPSC will do it themselves.

From the get-go, Tenenbaum was clear what the CPSC's top priority is for 2010: cribs.

For all of the attention that toys with lead paint and dangerous magnets received in 2007 during the year of the recall, we must not forget another major recall that happened back then. Simplicity cribs.

The Simplicity drop side crib recall of September 2007 was a game-changer.

Over 1 million cribs were recalled. At that time CPSC was aware of 3 deaths and 7 entrapments in those cribs. Since 2007, we've recalled another million Simplicity drop side cribs.

And sadly, we are now aware of 11 children that have died due to drop side defects and other hardware defects in Simplicity cribs. The 2007 Simplicity recall made national news for days and it was the start of a drumbeat of drop-side crib recalls.

A drum-beat that we must bring to a close.

New drop-side crib regulations are set for this year, and the CPSC called on JPMA to step up and help clear the marketplace of used, recalled products.

All told, Tenenbaum made it clear that there is a new sheriff in town. Let's see how that goes.

Chairman Tenenbaum, JPMA Summit Keynote Address, March 9, 2010 - Washington, DC [cpsc.gov]

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