By the Numbers
- Unintentional suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related death among children under 1 year of age.
- In 2009, children under 5 accounted for 94 percent of the unintentional suffocation-related deaths among children 14 and under.
- Approximately 50 percent of toy-related injuries resulting in ER visits involve children under 5.
Advocacy at Work
Safe Kids supports the concentrated efforts of several federal agencies and the American Academy of Pediatrics involving safe infant sleep practices. The guidelines urge placement of a baby on his/her back in a crib, the use of a firm sleeping surface, and keeping all soft objects out of the crib (pillows, bumper pads, stuffed animals, comforters and other items). Safe Kids strongly opposes a proposal to create a distinction in standards for crib bumpers.
Safe Kids keeps its radar focused on emerging trends that could create new risks for kids. Most recently, these trends included distracted driving, TV tip-overs, and the ingestion of button batteries or tiny rare-earth magnets. Safe Kids has this unique capacity partly because 90 coalitions are connected to children’s medical institutions. Safe Kids learned about the magnet threat (right) from its New Orleans coalition, which is allied with the New Orleans Children’s Hospital. The hospital was treating a 22-month-old boy who swallowed six of the magnets, which connected internally and did serious damage to his digestive tract.
Safe Kids supports H.R. 3418, the Stillbirth and SUID Prevention, Education and Awareness Act. (SUID is Sudden Unexpected Infant Death.) The bill would standardize the child death review process and promote public education on safe sleep environments.
Rare-earth magnets smaller than a pea are used to produce adult stress relief toys, but it takes only a few magnets from such toys to become dangerous when swallowed by a child. The magnets are attracted to each other in the digestive system, causing tears and blockages. To increase awareness, Safe Kids and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a joint warning about the danger. Safe Kids supports CPSC in its action to take rare-earth magnet adult stress products off shelves and e-shelves and wrote in favor of the rulemaking to prohibit the sale of rare-earth magnet sets.
Swallowing button batteries poses a severe risk for kids. We support the cooperative approach of industry and the CPSC in working together to prevent injury through packaging, warnings and innovation. We also support the Button Cell Battery Safety Act of 2011, S. 1165.
Television and Furniture Tip-overs
Safe Kids also supports the CPSC’s educational efforts regarding the danger of untethered furniture and televisions falling over on children at play. Additionally, Safe Kids released a research report stating that every three weeks a child dies from a TV tip-over.