September 16, 2008

You Say Football Net, I Say Soccer Net, CPSC Finally Says It's A Freakin' Deathtrap, Get Rid Of It

Almost 200,000 MacGregor and Mitre toy soccer goals of death have been sold in the US since 2002. But now the CPSC has issued a recall, following news that a 21-month-old boy died while trying to climb one. I should probably put "following" in quotes, since the kid was strangled last year.

It's not clear why it took the CPSC at least eight months to issue a recall, but then it's not clear why this recall got a five-minute story on NPR this morning, either. Maybe if an NPR reporter had had one of those Simplicity/Graco bassinets of death in his garage instead...

Soccer Net Death Sparks Recall, Months Later []
Regent Sports Recalls Soccer Goal Nets Following Strangulation Death of a Child []


This does beg the question of what were the parents doing while their not-even-2yr-old was trying to climb up the soccer net?

Actually, Sarah, I can imagine that the parent(s) were nearby, distracted by another kid, perhaps; maybe the not-even-2-year-old slipped out of sight for just a few seconds. I know that's happened to me. My guess is the kid's family is already feeling tremendous guilt over their loss. Recalling the nets, at least, will reduce the odds of the same fate hitting another family.

I call shenanigans. Recalling the nets will not prevent deaths when the root cause is the lack of judgment and supervision exercised by an adult, and not due to the normal intended use of the toy/device.

Reading the recall notice, I don't see how any soccer goal wouldn't be considered a death trap by the CPSC.

Soccer balls can be kicked with such force that they fracture a toddler's skull or knock a kid off a bicycle. Let's ban soccer in the interest of saving the lives of young children.

You've got to be kidding, AJ. the NPR report focused on the diameter of the holes in the net being too big, causing a strangulation hazard. I assume that means there is a safety regulation for the product that the product didn't meet, that the company didn't test for, etc, but it's not the kind of obvious "kick a kid in the face" threat, just the opposite.

As for lack of supervision, in the case of the strangled toddler, that does not seem to be the case. it sounded like the mother was right there. Parental idiocy and neglect are real dangers--there are too many kids who drown in pickle buckets and toilets every year, though no one is saying to ban them--but cracking down on a company that sells a standard-violating product, either through ignorance or negligence, is the CPSC's job.

Sarah, it doesn't beg the question. It raises the question. Apologies for the pedantry, but we've got to keep fighting the good fight to save such a descriptive little English phrase from misuse.

Micah, I'm going by the CPSC recall page. It doesn't mention the product failing to meet a safety standard.

Companies should not be held responsible for flagrant, obvious misuse of their products.

If a child of the intended age could get strangled, then I agree, sue the company blind. Should there be safety standards for nets? Sure. Does the federal government have such standards? I'd be surprised.

Whoops, still getting the hang of the reverse comment labels. That's a reply to Greg of course.

AJ- Children as young as three play soccer- so I'm not sure the size of the holes ONLY poses a threat to a child younger than the "intended age." It's also unlikely that a parent would forsee that a soccer net would pose a strangulation hazard to their child- so there are all sorts of scenarios (outside of "flagrant misuse") where a child could be harmed by the net. Also, this is a voluntary recall- if the product fails to meet an applicable standard (governmental or not), the company should do a recall, but they aren't being sued right now or "held responsible." They are being responsible.

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