Friday, February 10, 2017

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse Toy Wands Recalled

Image of Mickey Mouse toy wand courtesy CPSC
Feld Entertainment announced yesterday that it was recalling Disney themed toy light-spinner wands. These wands came in two color combinations and featured Mickey Mouse or Minnie Mouse atop them.

The problem, explained the company in its press release, was that the top part of the toy can separate from the rest of the wand. When that happens, the metal "spine" of the toy is exposed, presenting an injury risk.

Neither Feld Entertainment nor the Consumer Product Safety Commission has logged any reports of children being injured.

These toys were sold exclusively at Disney Live and Disney On Ice Shows between October and November of 2016. They sold for around $22 each. (Click the link above for list of show dates and locations.)

As you can in the photos provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, the Mickey Mouse wands are yellow, red and black. The Minnie Mouse wands are pink, white and blue. If you think you might have one of these, you'll need look for a lot number printed on the base.

Image of Minnie Mouse toy wand courtesy CPSC.The affected codes are:
  • 954544 
  • 954603
If you do find one in your child's toy box, you're urged not to allow kids to play with it.

You can contact the company for a refund. That number is: 800-755-1530 and is staffed from 9-5 on regular business days.

The recalled Disney wands were manufactured in China.

Images of these toys were generously provided by Feld Entertainment and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Still No Recall Of Hyland's "Homeopathic" Teething Tablets

In October FDA issued an official Safety Alert about the belladonna in homeopathic teething tablets and gels but Hyland has declined to recall.
Hyland's and its manufacturer are under pressure to
recall "homeopathic" teething tablets and gels the
FDA say contain "inconsistent" levels of
the potentially toxic herb belladonna.
It's been more than 4 months since the US Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, announced that it was investigating reports of seizures (and other adverse events) in kids who had been given "homeopathic" teething tablets and teething gels. And it's been 2 weeks since the FDA again reminded parents of the dangers of these products.

So why hasn't one of the biggest names in "homeopathic" remedies recalled its tablets? Why did Hyland's announce in October that it was discontinuing the sale of teething remedies in the US but has since remained steadfast in its refusal to recall them?

The problem with these products, says the FDA, is that the amount of belladonna in them is not consistent. Authentic homeopathic remedies are supposed to be made with extremely small amounts of their "active" ingredients but some of the samples the FDA tested reportedly came back with belladonna "sometimes far exceeding the amount claimed on the label". The excess belladonna poses what the agency calls "an unnecessary risk" to babies and children who use them.

If Hyland's or its manufacturer, Standard Homeopathic Company, does issue a recall, it won't be their first. Back in 2010 Hyland's Teething Tablets were recalled for exactly this same issue--inconsistent levels of belladonna. At that time the FDA also noted that some children were reportedly consuming more tablets than recommended because the bottles did not have child resistant caps.

While Hyland's has consistently maintained that the products are safe, the FDA is urging caregivers to dispose of any homeopathic teething products they may still have on hand. The agency also urges parents to seek medical care for any child who uses the products and experiences symptoms including:
  • Agitation
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Constipation or difficulty urinating
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Seizures
  • Skin flushing

New Infant Sling Standards Approved

The baby carriers known as infant slings will soon be safer than ever.
Infant sling image courtesy CPSC.
Even if you never used one yourself, you've certainly seen an infant sling carrier in use. Intended to suspend an infant from a caregiver's body, these devices can be complicated, padded carriers with multiple snaps and buckles or simple loops of fabric. But soon, all of them will be required to meet new safety standards before they're allowed on the market.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, announced last month that it had given its approval to new infant sling standards, many of which have already been adopted by manufacturers.

Some of those new standards include:
  • All slings must be able to carry far more than the manufacturer's posted maximum weight recommendation.
  • All slings must be able to pass testing with their full structural integrity intact.
  • All slings must support an infant without any danger of normal use dislodging the baby.
The new rules also require improved labeling. Some of those changes include:
  • Photos demonstrating proper placement of the infant
  • Warnings about fall and suffocation risk
  • Instructions to check all hardware for wear or broken parts
The agency did not say what, if anything prompted the adoption of these new standards, although it logged 17 fatal accidents and 142 non-fatal incidents involving infant slings between 2003 and 2016. Of the nonfatal accidents, 10 of them were serious enough to require hospitalization of the child.

Falls are the most common sling accidents but suffocation is also a risk. Slings that force a baby's chin into his chest, for example, can limit air supply, ultimately but slowly suffocating him.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Samuel Schnall Has Died, Miami Police Say

Samuel Schnall's death is the first confirmed death of a child left in a hot car in 0217.
Miami-Dade Police say that Samuel Schnall
has died, apparently after being left in a hot car.
Though most of us associate hot car deaths with summer months, the death of toddler Samuel Schnall is a reminder that the threat is real no matter what month it is.

Miami-Dade Police announced the death Tuesday, a day after Samuel was left alone for "over an hour" in the automobile of a family member. That family member and his or her relationship to the child have not been disclosed. Local media are reporting that Samuel did not live at that address.

Local weather reports say that the temperature outside the car reached the low eighties.

Investigators aren't providing a lot of information at this time but from the official press releases we know that an officer from Village of Pinecrest Police Department responded to a 911 call at about 3:15 p.m. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department then rushed Samuel to Baptist Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. He died there Tuesday.

The investigation, Police say, will continue.

This is the first hot car death involving a child so far this year. At least 39 children were killed in similar accidents last year, with "hundreds" more being sickened by excessive heat after being left in an automobile.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Zika Virus Video Contest for Alabama Teens - Winners

The winners of the Zika Virus Video Contest for Alabama Teens have been announced and, as you can see, the kids did an awesome job.

The contest was open to Alabama teens between the ages of 15 to 18 and required only that the videos included basic health information about Zika and tips for reducing folks' exposure.

Alabama Environmental Health Association provided the judges.

First place (and $1000) went to Lakyn Shepard. Lakyn goes to Bob Jones High School in Madison. You can see Lakyn's winning video, Fight The Bite, above.

Second place went to Cassie Volkin, who won $750. Cassie also attends Bob Jones High School. Here's Cassie's video, Don't Let Zika Slap You In The Face"

Faron High, who goes to Elba High School in Elba, took home third place and $500 for her video, Zika Virus:

Honorable mentions went to:
  • Amaya Brisbon, Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Montgomery
  • Hailey Gay, Homeschooled, Hillsboro 
  • Chenoa Gentle, Bob Jones High School, Madison 
  • Carley Sims, Huntsville High School, Huntsville 

Each of the honorable mentions videos won $100.

“These entertaining videos emphasize the need to eliminate standing water and other mosquito breeding sites, as well as ways to prevent mosquito bites,” said Sherry Bradley, director of the Bureau of Environmental Services. “Mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus are aggressive daytime biters but will also bite at night, and currently there is no vaccine available.”

Congratulations to all of them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Flint September Food Bank Stops Announced

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Flint's Food Bank of Eastern Michigan have announced the September locations for the mobile food pantry. Each food chosen for distribution through the mobile food pantry was chosen, says the agency, specifically to combat the effects of lead exposure in children.

  • Thursday, Sept. 1, at 1 p.m. – Salem Lutheran Church, 2610 Martin Luther King Ave.
  • Thursday, Sept. 1, at 10:30 a.m. – Greater Holy Temple, 6702 N. Dort Hwy.
  • Friday, Sept. 2, at, at noon – Jackson Memorial Church of God in Christ, G-3155 W. Carpenter Road.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 11 a.m. – Bethel United Methodist Church of Christ, 1309 Ballenger Highway.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 7, at noon – Hispanic Tech Center, 2101 Lewis St.
  • Thursday, Sept. 8, at noon – Reaching the World, 68156 Verdun St.
  • Friday Sept. 9, at noon – St. Luke New Life Center, 3115 Lawndale St.
  • Saturday, Sept. 10, at 10 a.m. – Hardenbrook Park, 2700 Alexander St. (Hosted by Salem Lutheran Church)
  • Monday, Sept. 12, at noon – Calvary United Methodist Church, 2111 Flushing Road.
  • Monday, Sept. 12, at noon – Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 1133 E. Bristol Road.
  • Monday, Sept. 12, at noon – Mid Michigan Community Outreach, 901 Chippewa St.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 13, at noon, Metropolitan Baptist Church, 930 E. Myrtle Ave.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 14, at noon – Church Without Walls, 6202 Dupont St.
  • Thursday, Sept. 15, at noon – Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church, 1417 N. Stevenson St.
  • Friday, Sept. 16, at noon – Dort Oak Park, 4601 Clio Road.
  • Saturday, Sept. 17, at 11 a.m. – Flint Islamic Center, 4400 S. Saginaw St.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 20, at noon – Carriage Town Ministries, 605 Garland Ave.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 21, at noon – No Greater Faith Missionary Baptist Church, 778 E. Holbrook Ave.
  • Thursday, Sept. 22, at noon – Foss Avenue Baptist Church, 1159 E. Foss Ave.
  • Friday Sept. 23, at noon – My Brother’s Keeper, 101 N. Grand Traverse Blvd.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 1 p.m. – New Birth Church, 3918 Blackington Ave.
  • Thursday, Sept. 29, at 11 a.m. – Greater Holy Temple, 6702 N. Dort Highway.
  • Friday, Sept. 30, at 2 p.m. – Vermont Christian Church, 1201 Lippincott Blvd.
  • Friday, Sept. 30, at 4 p.m. – West Court Street Church of God, 2920 W. Court St.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Texas Baby Died From Zika

Health officials in Texas confirmed last month that a baby who died in Harris County did, indeed, die of complications from microcephaly. The official press release about the death also disclosed that the microcephaly was caused by the Zika virus.

The baby, who died "shortly" after birth, was born to a mother who was infected with Zika while on a trip to Latin America. (The country in question was not revealed.) The baby acquired Zika while still in the womb.

While stressing that this new revelation in no way increases the risk of Zika to Texas residents, the state's Health Services Commissioner said, “Zika’s impact on unborn babies can be tragic, and our hearts are with this family.”

To date, there is still no evidence that any Texas Zika case has been the result of mosquito bites in the state. All of the 99 known cases so far have been seen in people who traveled beyond the state's borders.

This summer, 2 children have been diagnosed with microcephaly caused by the virus.