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MI Parents: Consumer Alerts Aren’t Enough to Protect Kids

March 11, 2008

Ann Arbor, MI – Michigan parents say consumer alerts just aren't working to protect kids, and they want the federal government to take stronger action on toy and medicine safety for children. That emerges from results of the National Poll on Children's Health, which were released this week, just days following action by the U.S. Senate on improving consumer safety procedures.

Dr. Matthew Davis, a pediatrician with the Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and director of the poll, asked parents what they thought about the recall and alert system. Since most recalls happen after a product has been purchased, he says, parents admit they have a hard time tracking down the dangerous items or medications. He adds that the new legislation passed by the U.S. Senate to require more up-front safety testing is what nine out of ten parents want.

"They say 'Try to enhance the product safety process to have greater accountability for the safety of toys, and things like medication.'"

People who oppose laws to require more up-front testing say companies can successfully self-regulate safety.

The pediatrician says parents feel consumer alerts come too late to protect their children.

The survey also found that 14 percent of parents had not heard that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should no longer be given to children under the age of two. Those medicines have been linked to thousands of emergency room visits and even deaths.

"As a pediatrician, I get concerned that many of the families that I take care of have these medications that are not safe for their kids still in their medicine cabinets."

More information is available at www.med.umich.edu.

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MI