Health unit looks to round up unsafe baby items

As a finale to “Safe Kids Canada Week” here, the Northwestern Health Unit is urging people with out-dated—and unsafe—children’s items, such as cribs and car seats, to bring them to the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau tomorrow morning.
The volunteer bureau is located in the old CN station.
“The reason behind it is to get those products out of the home,” health promoter Elaine Fischer said yesterday afternoon.
“The data that we’re working with from Safe Kids Canada shows that 5,000 injuries in children are reported to the hospital every year, and some of these are because of unsafe products,” she added.
Running from 8 a.m.-noon, the public is encouraged to bring in baby walkers with wheels, accordion- style baby gates, baby bath seats with suction cups, cribs built before 1986, and car seats older than 10 years old.
“Products change over the years and what was once thought to be safe may not be now,” noted Fischer, adding garage sales and hand-me-downs between family and friends often can lead to these older items remaining in use.
As an incentive, those who turn in unsafe items will receive a $10 gift certificate for Canadian Tire and a coupon book with $40 worth of savings from Johnson & Johnson.
The former comes thanks to a grant to the health unit from “Safe Kids Canada” while the latter is from a partnership between Johnson & Johnson and “Safe Kids Canada.”^In addition, Fischer hopes to keep the awareness of product safety up all summer long, and will be running messages about various child care items in the garage sale notices in the Fort Frances Times and the Daily Bulletin each Friday.
The product exchange is being held in conjunction with a garage sale at the volunteer bureau to raise money for the Fort Frances Model Railroad Club. Proceeds from this event will go towards a train layout as well as plaque in tribute to the late Ron MacGregor.
A garage sale back in March raised $300 for this same cause.
Vanessa Hebert, executive director of the volunteer bureau, noted tables also have been rented out to people beyond the railroad club wanting to sell used items.
In other news, the health unit— with the help of the OPP—held a seatbelt clinic at Canada Safeway this past Tuesday. About 30 child car seats were checked, but a good number were not in compliance with safety standards, said Fischer.
“[The compliance] is getting better, but we’re still seeing a lot of errors—most often with the tether, or the straps not being tight enough,” she remarked.
For those with questions about whether or not certain items are safe for their babies, they can contact Fischer (274-9827) or Kate Brant (274-2042).