Objective: While there is evidence that unsafe children's products are entering the Australian market, with increasing product safety recalls, no research has examined the nature of recalls or their trends over time. This research analyses Australian and US child-related product safety recall data to better understand the frequency and nature of unsafe children's products, emerging hazard trends and cross-jurisdictional similarities and differences. Results can inform improved childhood injury prevention policy and regulation strategies in Australia.
Method: Empirical analysis of child-related product safety recalls in Australia and the USA over the period 2011-2017.
Results: Cross-jurisdictional comparison revealed similarities in Australia and the USA, with over 80% of recalled products occurring in four industry segments (toys/games, household furniture/furnishings, clothing and sports equipment) and a common leading hazard of choking. Australia and the USA also had a similar number of child-related recalls over the study period (Australia: 652, USA: 668). Disparate trends included a 21% decrease in US child-related recalls over the study period, with most recalled products still complying with mandated safety requirements. In contrast, Australian child-related recalls increased by 88% over the study period, with the majority of recalled products failing to comply with mandated safety requirements. Based on US child-related recall data, the leading cause of injuries was the child falling, the most severe injuries related to furniture/furnishings and the most frequent injuries related to sports equipment.
Conclusion: Analysing recall data provides new insights into hazardous children's products. Cross-jurisdictional comparison of data on recalls highlights disparities and indicates a need for reforms to improve regulation of children's products in Australia.
- coding systems