KID Releases New Report on Fire Hazards

Last week, KID released a new report on fire and burn hazards within children’s products: Playing with Fire Hazards: An analysis of children’s products recalled for fire hazards from June 2007 to July 2017. This report aims to raise awareness about dangerous children’s products and promote safety.

KID’s research revealed many things, but one particularly striking result is the increasing rates of recalled products. We found that an average of 12.1 products were recalled for fire and burn hazards each year between 2007 and 2017, which greatly exceeded the average of 5.47 products recalled each year between 1992 and 2007.

“The fact that significantly more products were recalled in the past 10 years compared to the preceding 15 years is concerning,” said Celia Cullom, KID’s summer intern and the report’s author. “It indicates that dangerous products are making their way into consumers’ homes at an ever-increasing rate.”

Some of the reports major findings include:

  • Between June 2007 and July 2017, 121 children’s products were recalled for fire and burn hazards.
  • These products resulted in a reported 1,000 incidents, 159 injuries, and 2 deaths.
  • Defects included: violation of federal flammability standards, battery failure, electrical failure, exposure to hot substance/surface, and ignitable.
  • Of the 121 products recalled for fire and burn hazards, 46 were articles of clothing that violated federal flammability standards and 44 were toys, most of which contained defective batteries.
  • In total, more than 40 million units were recalled, including 29 million units of the McDonald’s “Step-iT” Activity Wristbands.

It is unacceptable that companies are creating and selling dangerous products that put people at risk. The majority of recalls (40.5%) were for violations of the federal flammability standard, which has been active since 1953. Enforcement needs to be strengthened, it is appalling that a decades-old law continues to be broken, leading to dangerous clothing items on the shelves of stores nationwide.

A notable dangerous product discussed in the report is the hoverboard. In March, two girls tragically lost their lives to a fire started by a hoverboard. KID and other product safety organizations released a statement encouraging consumers to only use UL 2272 certified hoverboards.

The source of the hoverboard fire hazard and 44 other recalled products from the last ten years is battery failure. Moving forward, manufacturers must find safer alternatives to lithium-ion batteries. For now, consumers who own products containing lithium-ion batteries should remain vigilant. Monitor these products while they are charging and supervise children who are using them.

This report serves as an update to previous KID research on fire and burn hazards: Smoldering Hazards: Fire and Burn Hazards of Children’s Products and A Burning Threat: Fire and Burn Hazards of Children’s Product Recalls. KID will continue monitoring product safety issues so that families can have the most current information. Visit our research page to see more of our reports on a wide variety of product safety issues. Sign up here to get monthly email alerts from KID with product recall information.

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