Know your wares

Garage sale ven­dors re­spon­si­ble for chil­dren’s safety


Now that the warmer weather has ar­rived, fam­i­lies and friends are gear­ing up for their an­nual garage/yard sale, or flea mar­ket. It’s a great time to get rid of clut­ter that’s ac­cu­mu­lated in base­ments and garages and an ideal time for bar­gain hunters to prove that the age-old adage “One man’s trash is an­other man’s trea­sure” still holds true to­day.

How­ever, an emer­gency room physi­cian at the Janeway Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal in St. John’s said that while par­ents al­ways want what’s best for their chil­dren, in­fant and tod­dler prod­ucts bought at yard sales or flea mar­kets may have un­in­ten­tional safety risks for the child.

“Prod­ucts that have been sit­ting in the garage or the base­ment for a few years may be un­safe for a num­ber of rea­sons — age, wear and tear by other chil­dren, or sim­ply by the fact that they no longer meet to­day’s safety stan­dard,” said pe­di­a­tri­cian Dr. John Martin.

In ad­di­tion to his role with Eastern Health, Dr. Martin is also an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of pe­di­atrics at Memo­rial Univer­sity.

Ac­cord­ing to Health Canada, peo­ple hold­ing garage sales are legally re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing that prod­ucts be­ing sold, whether new or used, are safe and meet cur­rent reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments.

In a re­lease posted on its web­site in May ti­tled Facts for Garage Sales Ven­dors, Health Canada lists nu­mer­ous items that are banned in Canada. These items in­clude baby walk­ers, in­fant self-feed­ing de­vices, and poly­car­bon­ate baby bot­tles con­tain­ing Bisphe­nol A (BPA).

There are also nu­mer­ous prod­ucts that must meet reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments un­der the Canada Con­sumer Prod­uct Safety Act. They in­clude baby gates, car seats, chil­dren’s sleep­wear, corded win­dow cov­er­ings, cribs, cra­dles, bassinets, playpens and strollers.

Baby gates that have di­a­mond­shaped or “V” open­ings at the top larger than 38 mm (1.5 inches) are il­le­gal to sell in Canada.

“If there is too big an open­ing, kids can get their heads in there and it’s a chok­ing or stran­gu­la­tion risk,” Dr. Martin ex­plained.

Chil­dren can also stran­gle on cords and beaded chains of blinds and cur­tains.

Car seats must have a na­tional safety mark and must meet cur­rent reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments. Sell­ers should al­ways check with the man­u­fac­turer be­fore sell­ing or giv­ing away a car seat.

“Once a car seat has been in an ac­ci­dent it has to be re­placed, and that’s some­thing a lot of par­ents aren’t aware of,” Dr. Martin said.

Loose-fit­ting chil­dren’s sleep­wear (night­gowns, bathrobes and loose py­ja­mas) made of cot­ton, cot­ton blends or rayon should never be sold or used on chil­dren as they could burn eas­ily.

It’s also il­le­gal in Canada to sell cribs that do not meet the cur­rent reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments. Health Canada does not rec­om­mend us­ing cribs older than 10 years, as they are more likely to have bro­ken, worn, loose or miss­ing parts and be miss­ing warn­ings and in­struc­tions.

Dr. Martin said he has treated ba­bies at the Janeway who have fallen out of a crib and have got­ten bumps, bruises or frac­tures. How­ever, he has not seen any child se­ri­ously injured from the fall.

Playpens with pro­trud­ing bolts or torn vinyl or mesh should never be used. Playpens must not have more than two wheels or cast­ers or the abil­ity to at­tach ad­di­tional wheels. Those sell­ing or buy­ing a playpen should en­sure that all lock­ing mech­a­nisms work and that setup in­struc­tions are in­cluded.

Strollers and car­riages made be­fore 1985 should not be sold as they may not meet reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments.

The Janeway is one of 10 pe­di­atric hos­pi­tals and sev­eral gen­eral hos­pi­tals in Canada par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Cana­dian Hos­pi­tals In­jury Re­port­ing and Preven­tion Pro­gram (CHIRPP).

An ini­tia­tive of the Pub­lic Health Agency of Canada, CHIRPP is a com­put­er­ized in­for­ma­tion sys­tem that col­lects and an­a­lyzes data on in­juries to peo­ple (mainly chil­dren) who are seen at the emer­gency rooms at these fa­cil­i­ties.

Dr. Martin is a CHIRPP re­gional di­rec­tor. The fact that he doesn’t re­call any child in this prov­ince be­ing se­ri­ously injured in re­cent years from the prod­ucts high­lighted in this story is ev­i­dence that the word is get­ting out about un­safe prod­ucts.

“A lot or re­tail­ers have got­ten on­board with this as well. They re­al­ize there are some re­ally strict reg­u­la­tions and that prod­ucts deemed safe a year ago could now be deemed un­safe,” Dr. Martin said.

As a new fa­ther, Dr. Martin said, he’s done a lot of re­search be­fore buy­ing baby prod­ucts. Par­ents and care­givers not in a po­si­tion to con­duct their own re­search should turn to re­li­able sites like Health Canada, he said.

Dr. Martin said peo­ple should re­mem­ber that – if in doubt – throw it out.

“If you are un­sure of a prod­uct don’t sell it or if you are look­ing to buy a prod­uct that you’re un­sure of – walk away. Some­times a deal re­ally is too good.” ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.