Heads-up – New CPSC On-line Reports Pose New Risks for Manufacturers

Nov 16, 2011

By Lee L. Bishop / Product Safety Letter
On Nov. 8, 2011, The Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) formally announced two changes to its on-line reporting tools, changes that had been implemented without fanfare several weeks ago. First, the CPSC has stopped its practice of notifying manufacturers via regular mail of consumer complaints that do not qualify for inclusion in the SaferProducts.gov on-line database. Those complaints will now be accessible to manufacturers (not the public) in a separate tab at the same website housing the searchable database. Second, the CPSC has changed its on-line form used to file initial reports of product defects under Sec. 15(b).

The CPSC press release characterizes these changes as simply a more efficient way to handle consumer complaints, and an “easier” way to report potential product hazards.

No, not really. These two changes present real risks and challenges for manufacturers.

Section 6(c) Information

The first change is not objectionable on its face, but manufacturers must remain vigilant that it is not misused. Some consumer complaints do not qualify for inclusion in the SaferProducts.gov database for a variety of reasons; for example, they may complain of a non-safety problem, or they could not contain the required consumer contact information or verification. These complaints (called “Section 6(c) information”) have been mailed to manufacturers for comment under the process described in 16 C.F.R. Part 1101. They can be obtained by the public only through the Freedom of Information Act.

Now these complaints are on-line, available only to manufacturers as a separate tab on the SaferProducts.gov website. They will no longer be mailed to manufacturers – if you wish to see and comment on these complaints, you must register on SaferProducts.gov. Remember that these Sec. 6(c) complaints are subject to different rules than the new Section 6A complaints. Section 6(c) complaints can only be obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, and manufacturers can object to their release pursuant to the Part 1101 rules.

Section 15(b) Report Form

For several years the CPSC has encouraged the use of an on-line form to report potential Section 15(b) product hazards. The previous form had open fields for critical information, such as the nature of the defect and how the reporter learned of the potential issue. Since reports are normally filed early in the investigation process, as required by the CPSC’s guidelines, often this information is preliminary, tentative, or simply not available. The form was used to start the process of either conducting a Fast Track recall or developing the facts necessary to support a “preliminary determination” of product hazard by the CPSC staff. The manufacturer would provide more complete information in its Full Report.

The new form is significantly different. It requires that the reporter state a precise date when the issue was discovered – it is not possible to file the report without this critical fact. Given the CPSC’s practice of evaluating every Section 15(b) report for a “late reporting” penalty, and the higher penalty authority provided in the 2008 CPSIA, the date a potential product hazard was discovered has significant legal consequences and should not be volunteered without careful thought and analysis.

The new form also requires that the reporter pick from a “drop-down” menu of “primary” and “secondary” hazards, including “electrocution/electrical shock” or “fire.” Moreover, the report form requires that the reporter pick precise numbers of products involved, their date of production and importation as well as their precise location in the distribution process.

In addition, the new form significantly limits the amount of text available in some of the fields. As a result, it is no longer possible to include the full text of the denial of substantial product hazard as allowed by 16 C.F.R. §1115.12(a).

If manufacturers do not have the information required by the new form, or if they want to formally document the denial of a substantial product hazard (which can be important for a number of reasons) they should consider reporting the old fashioned way – by phone or email containing a letter (in pdf format).

The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, or its client. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.

Lee L. Bishop is of counsel with Miles & Stockbridge. For 16 years prior to that he was Senior Counsel for Product Safety and Regulatory Compliance for GE consumer products, lighting and electrical industrial equipment. Contact him at (502) 213-0000, lbishop@milesstockbridge.


Pointlessly dangerous toys, 2011 edition

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2011  Jeff Gelles- Philadelphia Inquirer

Toys made with lead and phthalates continue to pose needless risks to U.S. children, according to the annual “Trouble in Toyland” report from U.S. PIRG.  Its findings are worth keeping in mind this holiday season as you shop or unwrap gifts for your kids  – especially for the babies and toddlers most as risk.

You can find the report here. U.S. PIRG says this year’s key findings include:

Lead Continues to be a Hazard in Toys

Exposure to lead can affect almost every organ and system in the human body, especially the central nervous system. Lead is especially harmful to the brains of young children and has no business in children’s products.

This year our investigators found 2 toys whose lead levels exceeded the current 300ppm standard set by the [Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act] and one additional toy that exceeded its prospective 100ppm standard; we found 4 additional toys that exceeded the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that lead levels in toys should not exceed 40ppm.

Phthalates in Toys

Numerous studies have documented the potential negative health effects of exposure to phthalates in the womb or in child development. U.S. EPA studies show the cumulative impact of different phthalates leads to an exponential increase in harms including premature delivery and reproductive defects. The CPSIA permanently banned toys containing three phthalates and set temporary limits on three others, while tests continue. No toy or childcare article can contain more than 1000ppm of each of the six phthalates.

This year, we found two toys that laboratory testing showed to contain 42,000 ppm and 77,000 ppm levels of phthalates. These products exceed limits allowed by the CPSIA by 42 and 77 times, respectively.

Choking Hazards

Choking on small toy parts, on small balls, on marbles and balloons continues to be the major cause of toy-related deaths and injuries. Between 1990 and 2010, over 200 children died from a choking incident.

This year we found several toys that violated CPSC’s small parts for toys standard intended for children less than 3 years old. We also found “near small part” toys that – while not in violation of current regulations – support our call for the small parts test to be made less permissive. Finally, we found toys intended for older children that failed to provide choking hazards warnings required for small parts or small balls.

Noisy Toys

Research has shown a third of Americans with hearing loss can attribute it in part to noise. The third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed one in five U.S. children will have some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach age 12; this may be in part due to many children using toys and other children’s products that emit loud sounds such as music players. The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders advises that prolonged exposure to noise above 85 decibels will cause gradual hearing loss in any age range.

We found 1 toy on store shelves that exceeded the recommended continuous exposure to 85-decibel limit and 2 close-to-the-ear toys that exceeded the 65 decibel limit when measured with a digital sound level meter.

As often happens, the toys singled out by U.S. PIRG tend to be inexpensive – this year’s top price is $11.99 – and seemingly innocuous.  And it’s true that the annual report draws some criticism as alarmist, perhaps because of its perennial title.

This year is no exception. Even before U.S. PIRG released this year’s report, the Toy Industry Association was ready with a statement warning: “During the holiday season, consumers are frequently targeted by activists who take advantage of the high visibility of toys and the opportunities they offer for media coverage.”

The TIA says:

The reports of such organizations ignore that toys are highly regulated and do not contain hazardous substances to which children may be exposed. They ignore that the U.S. government consistently lists toys among the safest of 15 common consumer product categories in the home. And they ignore that less than half of one percent of the estimated three billion toys sold each year in the United States are recalled.

You can read the rest of TIA’s statement here, and the group’s own safety advice here. The organization is right to recommend that toy risks be understood in their context, but wrong to say flatly that toys “do not contain hazardous substances to which children may be exposed.”

Plainly, sometimes they do – if you have any doubts, look at the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s list of toy recalls, which includes the recall of lead-painted toy cars as recently as Sept. 28.  And take note of the math: Less than half of 1 percent sounds low, but the group could also say “fewer than 30 million toys.” (Actually, I’d be surprised if the number were anywhere near that high.)

More to the point, the relative rarity of problem toys, and their low prices and ordinariness, are sort of the point.

Yes, most toys sold in the United States are safe. But at least a few aren’t, and the results can be tragic.  Do you want someone you love needlessly exposed to choking hazards or to risky substances such as lead, phthalates or cadmium?

As always, “Trouble in Toyland” contains a wealth of information about real risks in the marketplace that are easily overlooked, including toys that violate legal standards or recommendations of authorities such as the American Academy of Pediatrics. The report may reflect the perspective of “activists,” but it’s also a good primer on the underlying policy debates over how to best limit risks imposed on consumers by the occasional manufacturer or importer who violates the rules or pushes the limits.

“Trouble in Toyland” is worth a look. Again, you can find it here.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/consumer/Risky-toys-2011-edition.html#ixzz1eSqcpMfE

CPSC Safety Rules & January 1, 2012 – What You Need to Know

CPSC Small Business Ombudsman – 11/21/2011

Dear CPSC Small Business Community:


As you may know, on January 1, 2012, manufacturers and importers of children’s products will be required—for the first time under federal law—to third party test and certify their children’s products for compliance with the limit on total lead content in children’s products.  Manufacturers and importers will also be required to third party test and certify that toys and certain child care articles are compliant with the federal toy safety standard and the ban on certain phthalates.  We are reaching out, in the spirit of partnership, to provide you with new and updated education and guidance materials (described below) to ease the transition for affected businesses as the stays of enforcement expire for these regulations.  We want to work with you to ensure that you are familiar with these new requirements and to address your concerns.


Toy Safety Standard & the Ban on Phthalates


Recently, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (the “Commission”) announced the development of a strategic outreach and education plan to help the business community and other stakeholders learn about the third party testing and certification requirements that will go into effect on January 1, 2012, for children’s toys and toy chests manufactured after December 31, 2011.  For more information on the toy safety standard, please see our website at: www.cpsc.gov/toysafety.  Also, while you are visiting our website, please review our strategic outreach and education plan in the upper right hand corner of the page, and provide us with additional ideas and feedback about our plan.


Third party testing and certification requirements will also go into effect for the ban on certain phthalates for children’s toys and certain child care articles manufactured after December 31, 2011.  For more information about the ban on phthalates in toys and certain child care articles, please see our website at: www.cpsc.gov/phthalates.


Total Lead Limits in Children’s Products


January 1, 2012 also represents the date on which the Commission will begin to enforce the third party testing and certification requirements for the total lead limit of 100 parts per million in accessible parts of children’s products.  Unlike the toy and phthalate requirements, this requirement is for children’s products manufactured after August 14, 2011.   For more information about the total lead limits in children’s products, please see our website at: www.cpsc.gov/lead.


Certification and Third Party Testing


For all children’s products safety rules, certification and third party testing are generally required.  Certification means that manufacturers and importers of children’s products must issue a written Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) for each product, which identifies the product, the rule or standard with which it must comply, the third party laboratory where it was tested, and other requirements. Certification must be based upon the results of third party testing, which means testing performed by a third party, accredited laboratory that the Commission has accepted to perform the specific tests associated with each children’s product safety rule. For more details about what third party testing and certification means for your business, and for links to our list of accepted laboratories and sample certificates, please see our website at: www.cpsc.gov/3PT and www.cpsc.gov/labsearch.


Small Batch Manufacturers


In certain situations, qualifying small batch manufacturers may not be required to third party test their children’s products in order to certify compliance with one particular group of children’s product safety rules.  It depends on the children’s product and the materials used to manufacture that children’s product.  Specific information on third party testing requirements for small batch manufacturers is available at www.cpsc.gov/smallbatch.


Sign-Up for Updates


For future updates on this and other regulatory issues that may affect you, consider signing up for one of our e-mail services.  We have also just created an account on Twitter (@CPSCSmallBiz) and you can choose to follow us on Twitter for regular updates.  The Small Business Ombudsman’s e-mail service sign-up form is at www.cpsc.gov/sbo on the upper right hand side of that Web page.  And, at www.cpsc.gov/lists.html, you will also find a sign-up form for other useful Commission e-mail services of interest.  Of course, if you have additional questions about these requirements, you may always contact me at www.cpsc.gov/sbo by clicking on the  “Contact Form” on the upper right hand side of that Web page for the fastest response.


Please do not wait to take the necessary actions to ensure that your products comply and are properly third party tested and certified on January 1, 2012.


I hope that we can work together to ensure a robust compliance rate with these new requirements in order to protect consumers better and to ensure that businesses have a level playing field in providing safe and compliant consumer products to the American consumer.





Neal S. Cohen

Small Business Ombudsman

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

CPSC Launches Online Reporting Tool For Businesses

The SaferProducts.gov Business Portal Changes Are Part of CPSC’s Information Technology Modernization Effort On November 8, 2011, the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced new features to the SaferProducts.gov Business Portal that it claims will make it easier and more efficient for businesses to work with CPSC. These changes are a key part of the agency’s overall information technology modernization effort.

A new, comprehensive online form allows manufacturers, private labelers and importers to quickly submit required reports of potentially hazardous or defective products to CPSC. The online form makes it easier for businesses to report product hazards and to communicate information on consumer product safety issues with CPSC.

Another improvement expands CPSC’s ability to correspond with all registered businesses on SaferProducts.gov using the Business Portal,instead of postal mail. All registered manufacturers, importers and private labelers identified in incident reports will now receive notices electronically, regardless of whether the report is eligible to be published on SaferProducts.gov. Previously, businesses could only receive SaferProducts-eligible reports electronically. With this release, the structure has been put in place to eventually allow businesses registered in the Business Portal to add brand names for products they sell or have sold. Along with brand names, the time periods during which the company sold each brand also can be identified.

These enhancements to the SaferProducts.gov Business Portal are largely a response to requests and feedback CPSC received from businesses and trade associations.

Have you registered YOUR business on the saferproducts.gov site? 
If you haven't you should do so today!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 Contact:  Bill Jacoby,   info@jacobysolutions.com


Proprietary CORE Audit™ Evaluates Operational Readiness and Uncovers Compliance Issues

Wilmington, DE (November 15, 2011) – H.R.2715 Bill of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) becomes Federal Law on January 1 with promises of strict enforcement by CPSC Commissioner Nancy Nord.  With manufacturers at risk of facing fines of $100,000 per violation, companies are faced with the challenge of navigating and understanding the evolving regulations to ensure readiness.  Fulfilling a much needed resource, manufacturing industry veteran Bill Jacoby offers his 10 plus years of experience and knowledge in operations and compliance to help companies by auditing their operations and manufacturing processes and offering solutions for areas that need to be addressed.

“We’ve developed a process intent on preventing expensive mistakes,” said Bill Jacoby, president and founder of Jacoby Solutions.  “The process identifies any weaknesses and gives the company the ability to troubleshoot and create solutions that ensure full CPSIA / CCPSA compliance.”

Jacoby developed the CORE Audit (Compliance Operations Readiness Engagement Audit), the company’s proprietary approach to business operations readiness.  The audit covers sixteen operational areas including Quality Control, Labeling and Tracking, Issue Escalation, Documentation & Record Keeping, and Incident Reporting as well as CCPSA readiness reporting areas that they are compliant and revealing areas that need immediate attention.

“What many companies don’t realize is that compliance does not stop at testing,” said Jacoby.  “And unfortunately, many businesses do not have the resources in house to decipher the changing law as it relates to their daily business operations.”

To fulfill this need, Jacoby Solutions serves as an affordable resource and consultant to small and medium companies in the juvenile, toy and craft and hobby manufacturers producing products domestically or abroad.  Services will be extended to other consumer product categories in Q1, 2012.

About Jacoby Solutions: Business Transformation With An Eye On Compliance™

Jacoby Solutions is a product-centric consulting practice specializing in “ CPSIA operational readiness,” ongoing CPSIA and CCPSA compliance and operational efficiencies via improved process and systems.  A one-stop shop for manufacturing and distribution companies in need of a partner who can help them evolve their business while keeping an eye on compliance, Jacoby Solutions saves companies time and resources by helping them become operationally sound in all areas from manufacturing and distribution to supply chain management and customer service.  Founder and principal, Bill Jacoby has held executive management positions in business operations since 1987 with large corporate and small businesses alike including the last seven years in the juvenile products category.  For more information, go to www.jacobysolutions or email info@jacobysolutions.com.

The Washington DC Fly In; actually a little scary – Out of the Toy Box | Blog on Gifts and Dec

The Washington DC Fly In; actually a little scary

November 5, 2011 Richard Gottlieb


Each year, the Toy Industry Association asks the industry to come together in Washington, learn about what the government has planned for us and lobby Congress for relief from whatever that is. This week a small number of industry leaders answered that call. I made the trip as did Cardinal, Funrise, Sportcraft, Thinkfun, Patch, Itoys, Wild Planet, Creativity for Kids, American Plastic Toys, Tomy, Big Time Toys Mattel, Leapfrog, Hasbro and Lego.

I strongly suggest that the next time there is a Fly In that you make the trip as well. There is just too much at stake not to attend. For one thing, it was really a little scary.

Nancy Nord, Commissioner for the Consumer Products Safety Commission, gave us a stern warning that 2012 is going to be the year in which the CPSC will begin enforcing new CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) regulations. They will go into effect on January 1, 2012 as Federal Law. The CPSC will bechecking toys at the ports of entry. Failure to comply with third party testing regulations; leaving off traffic information and other discrepancies can lead to holding of the shipment and fines of $100,000 per violation. This is serious stuff.

Nord is a smart woman and she is highly sensitive to the stress that the new law puts on the toy industry. She does not, however, make the law, Congress does. Her job is to enforce it. So, in order to avoid having to make any more difficult for toy companies she wants them to be sure to take all the necessary steps to be in compliance.

The problem, and it’s a big one, is that the law is extremely difficult to understand and by the CPSC’s own admission, their website is not particularly helpful. They told us that they are working on improving it but I doubt that that is going to happen any time soon. Why, because they are badly understaffed?

So where are industry members who need information or are unsure that they are getting the right testing to go for help?

Well, you can contact the CPSC’s Small Business Ombudsman, Neal Cohen. Neal addressed us and I found him to be extremely articulate, smart and sympathetic. He will take your calls (301 504 7504) and answer your emails (ncohen@cpsc.gov). He is, however, just one man and has responsibility for a whole lot more than the toy industry.

I think the better place to go is to contact the Toy Industry Association. They are truly the only organization that has the assets in place to fully understand and interpret the law. When you do so, email Lorca Hjortsberg at lhjortsberg@toyassociation.org.

Nord and Cohen encouraged us to give them feedback on the current regulations. The best way to do that is through the TIA. So, I suggest that you contact the TIA to find out how you can help. And by the way, if you are not a member of the TIA, it is more than ever a good investment to join. You can do so by clicking here.

Study Claims ‘Significant’ Number Of Cribs Contain Harmful Chemicals

FOX NEWS Published November 03, 2011

A report released Thursday claims that a significant portion of crib mattresses sold in the U.S. contain one or more potentially dangerous chemicals, despite previous efforts made by manufacturers to reduce the number of harmful chemicals.

The report found that 52 percent of mattress models surveyed were made with conventional materials, including toxic chemicals, and 20 percent of mattress models were made without chemicals of concern but with potential allergens.

Only eight percent of mattress models included in the report were made without any chemicals of concern or allergens.

One of the mattress models, the Sealy Baby Firm Crib Mattress, is a top-seller among parents. It uses a vinyl cover coated with an antibacterial. Despite a statement on the company website that the mattress “does not contain any harmful chemicals,” researchers said that the process itself of vinyl manufacturing requires the use of toxic chemicals.

The researchers also warned parents to be on the look-out for other misleading health claims, such as:

-The addition of soybean or other plant oils to polyurethane foam (which does not decrease use of chemicals of concern) to reduce “carbon footprint” or

-The use of one or more layers of organic cotton. In one case, the cotton material was then covered with vinyl.

“The mattress does matter,” said Bobbi Chase Wilding, deputy director of Clean and Healthy New York, who wrote the report. “We call on manufacturers to eliminate toxic chemicals and fully disclose what materials they are using. Parents deserve to protect their babies while they sleep.”

Companies demonstrate varying degrees of public disclosure about the chemicals in their mattresses, according to the researchers. Only half of the manufacturers in the study provided full information about the materials used in cribs—even though many of the chemicals the researchers tested for have been shown to cause harm in the past.

“There is a strong connection between chemicals in our environment and many of today’s common health problems, including asthma, learning and developmental disabilities, cancer, infertility, and obesity,” said Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Environment and Health at SUNY Albany School of Public Health. “This report will help parents choose safer mattresses for their babies and illuminates the need for further changes to how mattresses are made.”

Jeff Gelles: Learning about risky products | Philadelphia Inquirer | 10/30/2011

How well are the searchable public database and card-registration systems working?

Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Business Columnist


 Troy the Activity Truck is being recalled because of a choking hazard. Two-thirds of consumers aren´t aware of the registration-card mandate.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Troy the Activity Truck is being recalled because of a choking hazard. Two-thirds of consumers aren’t aware of the registration-card mandate.

A quick Sunday quiz:

1. Where do you go to report an injury or a near-miss with a consumer product?

2. How do you learn whether others have identified risks you might want to know about – perhaps before you buy a toy or a space heater?

3. How do you make sure you’ll be informed of a safety-related recall if you buy, say, a baby’s crib, a toddler’s car seat, or a laptop computer?

The answer to the first two questions is the same – www.SaferProducts.gov, which went online in March to take and share reports from consumers. Since April, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been posting them in a searchable public database that last week contained more than 3,700 incident reports.

Question 3 is a bit of a trick. You’re as much on your own as ever if you buy a laptop and it’s recalled for a flaw such as an overheating battery – as Sony did last year after 30 reports that Vaio laptops had gotten hot enough to deform keyboards or casings. You can watch for news or visit Recalls.gov. Otherwise, you may learn about a recall only when you call to complain that your lap is getting really hot.

But since last year, the same 2008 law that mandated the CPSC’s new database has also required a new system meant to ensure that parents and others who buy “durable infant and toddler products” – items like cribs, car seats, strollers, and bassinets – learn about recalls before they cause injuries or deaths.

It works like this: If you buy a durable infant or toddler product, it’s supposed to include a card that enables you to register directly with the manufacturer – by mail or online – so the company will know how to reach you. Required in the midst of public furor over products that put kids at needless risk, it’s a special level of protection for products that should be especially trustworthy.


‘Company Doe’

How well are the new systems working? Consumer advocates give them good marks, although some manufacturers continue to push back against the public database – including an anonymous business that recently filed a “Company Doe” lawsuit against the CPSC in a Maryland court.

The company said it would suffer irreparable harm if it and its product were identified in an incident report submitted to the CPSC that said a child had been hurt. Even proceeding in open court would harm the company, it said, which is why it asked that the entire record be sealed.

For obvious reasons, CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson says he can’t discuss the case, except to say that the agency plans “to pursue a court motion to have this case unsealed.”

Wolfson says that from the agency’s standpoint, the database is working as designed. “It allows you to see what people in your community, or people around the country, have experienced.”

A report this month from the Government Accountability Office suggested one way the database still needs tweaking: making sure products are sufficiently identified in incident reports. A recent amendment to the 2008 law requires the CPSC to obtain a model number, serial number, or photograph of the product; before the amendment, the CPSC had asked for model or serial numbers, but the information was optional, the GAO said.

What about when a company contends that a report contains “materially inaccurate information,” as the GAO said occurred 160 times in the database’s first months? The GAO said, “Most were resolved and published within 10 business days” – the time frame set for initial review.


Public awareness lags

Recent reports by consumer groups highlight both the value of the database and the limits of the registration system, which also draws some industry criticism.

“Our experience with car-seat registrations is that, after a few years, the data became ineffective for consumer outreach, since people in this age range move as family size expands,” Michael Dwyer, executive director of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, said via e-mail.

Of course, one problem with registration cards – even when companies offer an online alternative, as this law requires – is of industry’s own making.

Long before the Internet became a primary means of collecting customer data, “warranty registration” cards were used as a subterfuge. Consumers were asked for their income, their hobbies, other products they had bought – information unrelated to the purchase they were registering. Many trained themselves to ignore the cards entirely.

The CPSC and consumer advocates have hoped to combat that with consumer education. But a recent survey of 1,000 adults conducted for the Consumer Federation of America showed mixed results, says Rachel Weintraub, the group’s director of product safety.

Two-thirds of all consumers – and more than 60 percent of those with children under 12 – weren’t aware of the registration-card requirement, Weintraub says.

Another study looked at the initial months of the database and showed once again why the system needed – and may still need – fixing.

The report from Chicago’s Kids in Danger examined more than 400 reports that involved children’s products among 2,432 incident reports posted at SaferProducts.gov before Aug. 4 and found reports of seven product-related deaths that hadn’t been previously disclosed, says Kids in Danger executive director Nancy Cowles.

Most alarming, she says, was that one in seven of the 400 reports involved a product that had previously been recalled, but was still in use. Among them: a May 2010 death in a Graco Quattro stroller finally recalled last year because of a design, changed in 2008, that allowed a toddler’s body to slip through but could entrap his head. At least six children have died in similar models since 2003, she says.

The database, Cowles says, “is being used exactly as intended.”

And, just as expected, it’s shedding new light on real risks.