The newest chair of the JPMA is Brenda Berg, Founder & CEO of Scandinavian Child. When asked for her top safety tips for parents and caregivers, she provides five steps parents and caregivers can take to help keep children safe:
1) Look for the JPMA Certification Seal: '??Parents assume that if it is on the store shelf that it has been safety tested, but that'??s simply not true of all products. While there are universally accepted safety standards, they are not mandatory and there are many products on the market that do not meet these standards.'?
2) Safety First: "As basic as this sounds, READ THE WARNINGS and heed their advice because a lot of thought went into the potential for harm if the product is not used correctly. For example, fasten furniture to walls, keep your child's sitting and sleeping spaces away from curtain cords, do NOT place a bouncer on a table (they bounce!), and do not leave a child unattended in a high chair.'?
3) Safe Sleep: "This is the one time of day when your child is not attended because, hopefully, you are sleeping too. Be extra careful in regards to crib safety, leaving infants in car seats for extended periods and issues with co-sleeping," she implores. JPMA has a terrific downloadable pamphlet called '??Safe and Sound,'? which provides detailed information. You can also find safe sleep tips at First Candle'??s website www.FirstCandle.org
4) Do your homework: "Look behind the label to find out more about the manufacturer and their practices. Poor quality and false claims can be found everywhere. If you want to be sure, contact the manufacturer to ask about their procedures.'? When talking to any manufacturer, some questions might include:
a. Do your products meet the ASTM safety standards (if there is a relevant standard)? The key here is that you may not know what ASTM standards do/not exist for various categories and, in some cases, the manufacturer or sales rep may not know either.
b. Do your products meet the mandatory CFR standards for lead paint, strangulation, small parts, sharp points, and all other laws?
c. Do you conduct random testing either through the JPMA random retail testing program (under JPMA certification) or by yourself?
5) Children'??s health and development: '??In addition to looking for products that meet safety standards, it'??s also important to look for products that are best for children'??s development. This means looking for products that are more natural and ergonomic. It'??s important to support children'??s development with products designed to support crucial areas such as their neck and spine. www.HealthyChild.org is an excellent source for information on creating healthy environments where children and families can flourish.'?
For more information on product safety and tips, Brenda recommends JPMA'??s THE PARENTHOOD. And JPMA is the spot to check on all the latest recall news. And since we know Brenda has always led Scandinavian with '??designs without compromise'? as her guiding principle, we couldn't miss a chance to talk "green" with Brenda.
What steps are you and the JPMA taking to protect the environment for our children?As you know, JPMA is focused on product safety, not specifically on green initiatives. However, it's important to note that JPMA member companies are working diligently to protect the interests of consumers as well as the environment, whether by extending product lines to offer consumers environmentally-friendly alternatives to traditional products, or implementing innovative product recycling programs.
Are there any current JPMA members doing exciting things in terms of eco-friendly design?
As we've all noticed, common, everyday juvenile products are getting a '??green'? makeover, such as carriers, cradles, high chairs and even mattresses. (We, for example, added an organic carrier option to the lillebaby line because we know it's important to many of our customers.) Bedding, clothing, and diapers have gone organic, and some manufacturers have even developed a program by which consumers can return the used product at the end of its life cycle for disassembling appropriate recycling.
I think it's also good to note that in 2007, close to 41% of total gross shipment dollars went to green initiatives, in 2008 this percentage increased to 56%. Green practices in the industry include the use of chemical free, organic materials; eco-friendly packaging; fair trade practices; use of sustainable materials; responsible manufacturing techniques; and energy efficiency.