Long time no newsletter! A catch up on product hazards in the pandemic, regulatory updates, and some stories about people in product safety. 
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Product safety in COVID times

A few new hazards have emerged during the global pandemic and some old ones magnified. 

Just last week I saw a face mask for infants with a dummy/pacifier attached - clearly a suffocation risk. 

Child poisonings on hand sanitiser are rising. 

And as families spend more time at home, some old problems are re-emerging. Creative toys with strong magnets have been marketed to young families as a way to keep kids occupied. Unfortunately, this has led to a rise in hospitalisations for serious injuries. 

And a few other perennial hazards . . .


Regulation watch
by Gail Greatorex

There's been movement on a few fronts with general product safety mandatory standards:

The big one is button batteries for which the ACCC hopes to settle a new mandatory standard in the next month or so. This will impact a very wide range of importers and retailers, so keep an eye on that.

The US CPSC has updated its vital guide to age grading of toys. It's the first revision in many years and brings the guidelines into line with modern child traits and the current toy market. A copy is accessible through my Links and Documents page.

Revised mandatory standards have been announced for aquatic toys and projectile toys

And a review of the cosmetics ingredient labelling standard is underway - another far reaching regulation that's one to watch.

Tribute to retiring colleagues
By Gail Greatorex

Two champions of consumer product safety have retired in 2020 after decades of service.

Eric Chalmers was long time head of Kidsafe in the Australian Capital Territory and was awarded an AM in the June 2020 Australian Honours system. I've known Eric for a long time as an absolutely tireless campaigner for kids's safety. So many campaigns!

Martin Rushton began his UK government product safety career in the 1980s and was then the mainstay of New Zealand’s product safety agency for the past 15 years.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Martin for one of my podcasts, back in 2015. In it, Martin recounts some cases that illustrate valuable lessons for product suppliers – online sales, supply chain management, toxic toy beads and button batteries.

Read more about Martin

A look back at The Year of The Recall

By Gail Greatorex

In many ways 2007 was a gamechanger. It was my job to help keep children safe, but toys became so hazardous we nearly had to cancel Christmas.

That year I represented Australia at the first ever consumer product safety conference in China – a momentous occasion. It was a major event in international relations and I was honoured to participate.

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