The problem with lead poisoning in children is that it can’t be treated, only prevented, and it can begin affecting someone during their mother’s pregnancy if she’s exposed to lead. A new study performed by lab testing service Quest Diagnostics with results announced this week shows an alarming number of kids in some parts of the country have unsafe levels of lead in their blood, and there isn’t anything that we can do about it once they’ve been exposed. [More]
The federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program means that kids in high-poverty schools receive cups of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, starting kids on what program boosters hope will be a lifelong habit of thinking of fresh produce as valid and delicious snacks. Who could possibly object to that? Lobbyists for the frozen, canned, and dried fruit industries. [More]
Zooming along the sidewalk at up to 13 miles per hour on an electric-powered scooter sounds like a lot of fun. However, one scooter company has run into trouble by running its ads that show an unsupervised teen zipping around the neighborhood during shows for inappropriately young kids. Their commercials caught the attention of the ad watchdogs over at the Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council. [More]
It was one thing when a company selling products for babies handed out fake prescription bottles full of candy to bloggers who could, theoretically, bring them home to their children. Teaching kids that amber and white bottles contain candy is a terrible idea. Yet one college professor skipped the intermediary and handed out pill bottles filled with M&Ms directly to children, angering their parents and other community members. [More]
Smart appliances and Internet-connected household items are here on the market and on their way into our homes whether we like it or not, but here’s one unexpected smart product: a smart bed for children that serves as its own night light and banishes under-the-bed monsters using a smartphone app. [More]
For the last decade or so, children’s clothing with drawstrings have been illegal to sell in this country. Such items still often go on the market, as our monthly Recall Roundups show, and older hand-me-downs may still have the offending strings. A recent investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office found banned kids’ clothes in the majority of thrift stores that it checked in the state. [More]
The Girl Scouts: they stand for wholesome, educational, and fun childhood activities. Right? Generally, yes, and even without coating every visible surface with pink sparkles. A new set of Barbie-themed activities and patch for the Daisy and Brownie levels (kindergarten through third grade) has horrified some critics, who think that the toy-maker’s influence is bad for girls’ self-image. [More]
The FTC announced today that the agency has approved a new “safe harbor” certification program for websites that handle childrens’ personal data. The kidSAFE program will certify websites and programs that meet the standards of the the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. [More]
As a child of the ’80s raised by a pair of reformed smokers, I never had candy cigarettes. They weren’t common when I was growing up, and even if they had been, I wouldn’t have been allowed to have them. You may be surprised to learn that they still exist. Until recently, you could buy them at a retro old-timey soda fountain in St. Paul, Minnesota. Until Big Government swooped in and told the owner that the candy cigs had to go, because they’re illegal. [More]
Toys ‘R’ Us sells video games. A lot of games are decidedly toys for grown-ups, not for kids. One of these is the long-anticipated Duke Nukem Forever, which is promoted front and center in the store’s advertising circular this week. Timely marketing, sure. But Omar asks: is it appropriate to promote this item so heavily at a store that devotes most of its floor space to items for children?
Alexander wonders: if Toys ‘R’ Us is a business that caters to children, why aren’t their policies very child-friendly? If fickle children receive duplicate gifts or things they just don’t want, why won’t the chain take them back? He shared a recent experience along with his rant. [More]
Know what toddlers love? Spray bottles full of bleach. A new study shows that despite the fact that injuries from household cleaning products have decreaed by almost half since 1990 — spray bottle injuries are remaining steady. The most common product to injure kids under 6? Bleach. [More]
Just three months after the American Academy of Pediatrics put out a call for a redesigned hot dog that would be safer for small children to eat, Eugene D. Gagliardi, Jr. — the food designer who invented Steak-umms and popcorn chicken — has come forward with a solution. His patented hot dog has eight slits that open during cooking, which cause it to break up into smaller pieces, potentially reducing the likelihood that a child could choke on it. [More]
When is a tiny, mint-flavored tablet that dissolves in the mouth not a breath mint? When it’s a Camel Orb “dissolvable tobacco” pellet, that’s when. And that has health advocates — who worry that children may mistake the nicotine pills for candy — smoking mad. [More]
It probably hasn’t occurred to you that each year there are nearly 26,000 people treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained by tipping furniture and TVs. It certainly hadn’t occurred to us. Our sister-publication, Consumer Reports, put together a video demonstration showing how your kid can get crushed climbing up a dresser towards your TV. [More]
Don’t look now, but some restaurants seem to be cutting back on that staple of the family dining experience: crayons and paper for kids. NPR’s Planet Money blog reports that the Red Robin chain has gone from four crayons per customer to two. How long before they drop them completely, forcing parents to — gasp — hold conversations with their children instead of letting them color images of popular menu items while mom and dad knock down their pre-meal cocktails.
If you’re a company like Echometrix that sells parental control software, you’re sitting on a whole bunch of data about what teens and children say and do on the Internet. What to do with that information? Use it to make your software better? Well, of course. But why not sell aggregate data to marketers, too?
It’s garage sale season, so our esteemed sister publication, Consumer Reports, has put together a list of 10 recalled children’s products to avoid buying secondhand. This one, in particular, has a defect that should become obvious upon glancing at the accompanying photo.