Home Comforts or Hidden Dangers?

    Safe Kids Canada unveils startling new data on product safety in the home

    TORONTO, May 25 /CNW/ - A new review of child injury research from Safe
Kids Canada demonstrates that Canadian homes may not be as safe for children
as many parents mistakenly believe.
    According to a new Harris/Decima survey on home product safety unveiled
today as part of the national Safe Kids Week campaign, the majority of
Canadians (86 per cent) assume the products they buy for their homes are safe
for the family to use. This is not always the case. While products used every
day by adults have a purpose, these same products can become dangerous when
used incorrectly by children.
    Between 1990 and 2007 there were over 1.6 million emergency room visits
for children under the age of 19. In the last 10 years nearly half of these
(46 per cent) were as a result of product-related injuries. However, according
to the survey results, nearly half of Canadian parents (49 per cent) feel
children are rarely injured by home products. In reality, there are 18,000
emergency room visits each year as a result of Canadian children who have been
injured by products found in and around the home.
    "Children are particularly vulnerable to home product-related injuries,
often using normally safe products in ways they were never meant to be used,"
says Pamela Fuselli, executive director of Safe Kids Canada, the national
injury prevention program of The Hospital for Sick Children. "The majority of
Canadians incorrectly assume the products they use in their homes are safe -
especially if they've never had an incident - but this is not the case.
Parents and caregivers need to consider how a child sees different products in
the home and anticipate how they could be harmful if used improperly."

    Danger in disguise:

    Injuries to children by products found in and around the home are common
throughout all age groups - not just younger children. In fact, as children
grow they are at risk for different kinds of injuries from various home

    Risk for children ages 0 - 4 years: FALLS FROM FURNITURE

    Young children are at risk for falls from beds (i.e. bunk beds) and
furniture such as tables, chairs and couches. Between 1990 and 2007, more than
5,403 injuries from bunk beds were reported. While bunk beds are functional
and allow for maximum use of space, injuries from a fall from a top bunk were
almost twice as likely to require hospital admittance than other injuries.
Only allow children over age 6 to use the top bunk and install padded
carpeting in rooms where bunk beds are used. Thirty per cent of Canadians have
owned bunk beds; however 10 per cent of Canadians do not believe they could
cause injury to a child.

    Risk for children ages 5 - 9 years: TOPPLING FURNITURE

    Whether climbing furniture to reach items they want or to turn on the
television, children ages 5 - 9 years are most at risk of injury from toppling
furniture such as televisions, dressers, wall units, bookcases and water
coolers. Between 1990 and 2007, children's injuries from toppling furniture,
televisions and larger appliances averaged approximately 9,000 cases per year.
Specifically, more than 100 children visited the ER each year from toppling
televisions alone. Televisions need to be kept on low, sturdy furniture -
never on dressers - and safety products like angle-brackets or furniture
straps can be used for better security. Nine per cent of Canadians do not
believe toppling furniture could cause injuries to children.

    Risk for children ages 10 - 14 years: BACKYARD EQUIPMENT

    Older children are at risk for injuries from backyard equipment such as
playground sets. Approximately 25 per cent of injuries to children occur on
home playground equipment. Falls and strangulation are the leading causes of
injury to children on backyard playground equipment. Playgrounds should be
surrounded by a deep, soft surface such as wood chips or sand to help cushion
a child's fall, plus in order to prevent strangulations, drawstrings on
children's clothing should be removed, and scarves should be tucked into
clothing, before children play on playground equipment.

    Keep Your Home S.A.F.E.

    -   See products around your home through the eyes of your child and
        anticipate how a child might use it differently. Keep potentially
        dangerous products out of reach.
    -   Ask yourself if the products you purchase are appropriate for your
        child. Look at the size, surface and remove any strings. Remember,
        the smaller child, the bigger the product.
    -   Find products that follow safety standard seals such as CSA or ASTM
        when choosing an item for your home.
    -   Educate yourself on products that have been recalled and contact
        Health Canada if you have a concern at 1 866-662-0666. Their website,
        www.healthcanada.gc.ca/cps/, has extensive information on product
        recalls, product advisories and children's products.

    Doing Your Homework

    If problems do occur with products used in Canadian homes, consumers need
to be aware in order to take action. The majority of Canadian parents (48 per
cent) say they rely on news reports as the most common ways to find out about
product recalls. Another 32 per cent say they do their own Internet research
and one fifth (20 per cent) rely on manufacturer updates to find out if a
product has been taken off the market. In reality, news reports are unable to
cover the sheer volume of product recalls each year. According to Health
Canada there were at least 82 separate product types were recalled in 2007
including window blinds (cords), toys, pencils, party favours, ice hockey
helmets and visors, children's necklaces just to name a few. Parents should be
sure to frequently visit the Health Canada web site to stay in the loop of
product recalls, plus they should report any problems to 1-866-6623-0666.
    A resounding 93 per cent of Canadians agree that the government should
created laws to ensure all products are safe before they are available on
store shelves. The introduction earlier this year of the proposed Canada
Consumer Product Safety Act will make children's products safer.
    Today marks the start of the 2009 Safe Kids Week - Home Safe Home - which
runs from May 25 - 31, 2009 and is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson.

    Spokespeople across Canada

    Safe Kids Canada has local expert spokespeople in Halifax, Montreal,
Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver available for interviews.

    Home Safe Home Pamphlet

    Safe Kids Canada and Johnson & Johnson are offering a free Home Safe Home
educational pamphlet for parents and caregivers. Log onto
www.safekidscanada.ca to download your copy.

    About Safe Kids Canada:

    Safe Kids Canada is a national leader in educating parents and promoting
effective strategies to prevent unintentional injuries and deaths of children.
Across Canada, Safe Kids Canada partners are conducting Home Safe Home events
this week. Local partners will educate families on home product safety.
Parents can check www.safekidscanada.ca to find out if there is an event in
their area, or to learn more about safety and injury prevention. They can also
call Safe Kids Canada at 1-888-SAFE-TIP (723-3847). Safe Kids Canada is a
member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network in 16 countries around the
world dedicated to preventing unintentional injury to children.

    About Johnson & Johnson:

    Johnson & Johnson is the Founding Sponsor of Safe Kids in North America
(Canada, U.S., and Puerto Rico), and in 16 other countries around the world.
The company also sponsors Safe Kids Week, Safe Kids Canada's largest-scale
annual public awareness program designed to help reduce the frequency and
severity of preventable childhood injuries, the leading cause of death and
disability of Canadian children. Johnson & Johnson, with approximately 110,600
employees, is the world's most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of
health care products, as well as a provider of related services, for the
consumer, pharmaceutical and medical devices and diagnostics markets. Johnson
& Johnson has more than 200 operating companies in 57 countries around the
world, selling products in more than 175 countries.

    Harris/Decima surveyed 283 adult Canadians who live with children ages 17
    and under about home product safety and product recalls. The national
    telephone survey was conducted January 8-12, 2009, with a confidence
    level of +/-5.8%, 19 times out of 20.

For further information:

For further information: Jaclyn Crawford or Kate Carroll, Environics
Communications Inc., (416) 969-2728, (647) 299-4294,
jcrawford@environicspr.com, kcarroll@environicspr.com; Lisa Lipkin, Manager,
Communications & Marketing, Safe Kids Canada, Cell: (416) 843-1190, Office:
(416) 813-6164, lisa.lipkin@sickkids.ca

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