Play yard dangers
Hank Investigates: Play yard dangers
This video, and some heartbreaking memories of Ellie are all this New Hampshire family has now. And what makes Ellie's death so tragic, her mother is certain it could have been prevented.
"I am very angry, I am very hurt,” said Lisa Olney, Ellie’s mother.
Thirteen month old Ellie died inside a portable "play yard". She was strangled when her head got stuck under the play yard's changing table. It's tragic, it's horrible, and the one your kids are in could be dangerous, too.
"I never thought something like his could happen," said Onley.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says play yards have been connected to injuries of more than 2000 children. Forty-nine more have died, including Danny, Ethan, Jared, and Riley, whose grandmother found her choked to death by a collapsed side rail.
"We just want to keep this from happening to any other family," said Cynthia Faubion, Riley's grandmother.
Full sized cribs, bath seats and car seats, they must meet strict mandatory federal safety requirements before they can legally be sold in stores. But not these play yards-defined by the feds as "a framed enclosure that includes a floor…with mesh or fabric-sided panels primarily intended to provide a play or sleeping environment for children."
Right now, the only standards are voluntary!
"It's very scary, a play yard is something you buy in order to keep your child safe when you aren't watching them," said Nancy Cowles, Safety Advocate, Kids in Danger.
After dozens of grieving families like Ellie's and Riley's begged for change-the feds did create tough new mandatory safety standards. But would you believe, play yard manufacturers won't have to follow the rules until next year!
If you're a worried parent, you don't have to wait. We found exactly what you should check for-- now.
Look at the accessories: We found the new rules will require that any add-ons like the loose changing table that killed Ellie--be securely attached, and not have choking hazards like dangling straps and loops.
Look at the mattress: The new rules will require mattresses be attached to the play yard floor so the baby can't be trapped in between---five kids have been injured that way.
Look at the side rails: The new rules will require that they don't fold into a V-shape like this one. That's how 12 children, including Riley, were strangled.
Now Riley's family, and Ellie's, at least hope their children's deaths will keep other kids safer.
"We should feel confident about the products our children use and no child should lose their life like that again," said Olney.
There are ways you can make sure you're using your play yard safely too, like never add extra bedding. Here’s more information on how to keep your child safe:
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