Safe Kids Canada applauds the Federal Government's new action plan to make children's products safer



    TORONTO, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - Safe Kids Canada supports the new action plan
released today by Prime Minister Stephen Harper aimed at making children's
products sold in Canada safer for children. Survey results show that the vast
majority of Canadians believe that if a toy or product is available on the
market it is safe. While the public may assume that products for sale have
been tested or inspected for safety, this has not necessarily been the case in
Canada.
    "Children are at special risk for injuries from consumer products. They
relate to products and their environments in different ways than adults do,"
says Pamela Fuselli, interim executive director, Safe Kids Canada. "Products
need to be designed to anticipate the special risks faced by children. If
products are dangerous by design then they must be removed from the market."
    Safe Kids Canada and its partners have always encouraged a stronger
product safety system in Canada. Safe Kids Canada recommends that Health
Canada's product safety legislation be strengthened to include a
"precautionary principle" and "general safety requirements" for all products.
    Products, especially those intended for children, should be designed with
safety in mind. Manufacturers, distributors, retailers and developers of
standards should put special consideration into how vulnerable consumers might
interact with their products. When there is a problem with a product or toy,
swift action should be taken to protect the public through warnings and
advisories and, if needed, a recall of the product. Safe Kids Canada supports
giving more powers to the Health Minister to keep kids safe, including
enforcing recalls. Fines to industry should also be increased to serve as a
greater deterrent.
    "These types of changes would bring laws and standards in line with the
expectations of Canadian buyers for safe products on the market. We are
looking forward to reviewing the details of today's announcement," says
Fuselli.
    The Federal Government and Health Canada have been responsive to concerns
about toys and products that have caused serious injuries to children. Canada
is the only country in the world to have a ban on the importation,
advertisement, and sale of wheeled baby walkers. Baby walkers allow young
infants to move quickly, resulting in falls down stairs and in some instances
scalds from pulling hot objects or liquid onto themselves.
    For more information on product and child safety, call 1-888-SAFE-TIPS
(723-3847) or visit safekidscanada.ca

    Established in 1992, Safe Kids Canada is the national injury prevention
program of The Hospital for Sick Children and is a national leader in
educating parents and promoting effective strategies to prevent unintentional
injuries and deaths of children.

    
    Here are some tips when choosing and using toys this season to help keep
children safe:

    -   Choose toys suitable for the child's age. Follow all warnings, safety
        messages, and instructions that come with the toy. Keep small toys,
        or toys with small parts, away from children under 3 years of age or
        older children who still put toys in their mouth. Small items are
        choking hazards.

    -   Keep toys with small magnets out of the reach of young children. If
        swallowed, they can cause serious illness to children. Seek immediate
        medical help if your child has swallowed 1 or more magnets.

    -   Never use a baby walker. Baby walkers have been banned in Canada
        because they cause many serious injuries to children.

    -   Never use a baby bath ring or seat for bathing your child. These
        products can tip over, causing babies to drown.

    -   Do not let children put metal jewelry in their mouths. Some jewelry
        could contain high levels of lead that could make your child
        seriously ill.

    -   Avoid toys with long strings or cords for babies and young children.
        They could get wrapped around children's necks.

    -   Remove toys strung across a crib or playpen once your baby is able to
        push up on his hands or knees or is 5 months old (whichever comes
        first). Toys that are strung across a crib or playpen are attractive
        to babies and can get caught around a baby's neck.

    -   Do not put large plush or stuffed toys in your baby's crib. They pose
        a risk for suffocation.

    -   Children can choke on latex balloons. Mylar (foil) balloons are a
        safer option for children.

    -   Make sure battery-operated toys are in good condition and that the
        batteries are not accessible to children. If swallowed, batteries can
        cause chemical burns or poisoning.
    





For further information:

For further information: Lisa Lipkin, Public Affairs, The Hospital for
Sick Children, Tel: (416) 813-6380

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