Estimates from the EU Injury Data Base identify that each year approximately 19,000 children under 14 years of age in the 28 countries of the European Union will have injuries involving bunk beds, 51,000 will have injuries involving trampolines and a further 52,000 will have toy related injuries that are serious enough to require a visit to the emergency department.

The rapid alert system of the European Commission, RAPEX, reported that the second most frequently identified category of serious risk notifications in 2011 was toys and the sixth was childcare articles and children’s equipment – all products specifically designed for children! In the past 5 years there have been 43 RAPEX alerts related to high chairs alone from 13 different Member States. Risks identified in these alerts include choking risks due to detachable or breakable parts of the high chair accessible to the child, fall risks due to a lack of stability in high chair design, non-compliant folding or locking mechanisms or lack of an effective restraint system .

Children are at risk of injury when a product has a design defect, when parts become broken or are missing or when the design creates an unforeseen hazard during its use. Injuries can also occur when a product is not used as intended, when use is age inappropriate or when use is not appropriately supervised. Increased risk of injury can also occur with second hand products if the history of the product is not well known and the product has been damaged, or the complete instructions for safe use are no longer available.

"Children’s safety is paramount", stated Erikas Maciunas, Lithuania’s Vice Minister of Health and representative for the EU Lithuanian Presidency. "Children are needlessly suffering preventable injuries and accidents, including many that result from interaction with everyday products. Children across the European Union should be provided with the same level of safety, and that means ensuring safe and affordable child care articles are available for children and their families and that their safe use is understood."

The European Child Safety Alliance along with its country partners and 3 key sponsors, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Kid Rapt Ltd. in the United Kingdom and the Consumer Safety Commission (CSC) in France, are pleased to release today the Child Product Safety Guide: Potentially dangerous products.

The Guide was written to increase knowledge as a step toward reducing child injuries related to products that are in regular use by children and their caregivers. It provides comprehensive information on 26 products that child safety experts in Europe and evidence-based research have identified as posing injury risks to children using the following criteria:

  • Products that are used by a large proportion of parents and caregivers,
  • Products that cause either frequent or severe injuries, and
  • Products that are considered ‘safety’ products for children, but are widely misused by consumers.

The Guide is meant to raise awareness and educate consumers and professionals to recognise the hidden hazards that a child encounters with products in their daily life and ways to prevent injuries resulting from these products.

- Read the rest of the statement here (also in PDF)

- Download the Child Safety Product Guide (PDF 1.8mb)

Last modified on December 5 2013.