There’s a picture of me at around age one, propped up in a green baby walker with a big grin on my face. “You loved it!” my mother is fond of saying, followed by the story of how I used this particularly treacherous product to fall down a (small) flight of stairs. Apparently I wasn’t the only one—there were enough injuries from these walkers that by the time I had my own baby, 30-odd years later, they were banned in Canada. But this required a huge campaign over many years. “It’s really difficult to make a product unavailable to consumers,” says Claude Cyr, a paediatrician in Sherbrooke, Que., who works on the Canadian Paediatric Society’s Injury Prevention Committee. Cyr explains that a ban can only be implemented when the product in question is dangerous when used as directed, not just under some circumstances.
Plus, banning is usually the last step in a comprehensive strategy, after educating the public about the product and introducing new guidelines for manufacturers to follow, says Cyr.
As a result, there are plenty of baby products sold in Canada that still pose hazards for your little one, especially if you’re not using them correctly. “A couple of years ago, a medical student did a project with me where he went around to stores selling baby stuff in Calgary and the displays were a million miles from what we recommended,” says Ian Mitchell, a paediatrician at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and a professor of paediatrics at the University of Calgary.
Here are 11 products currently on store shelves with the highest potential to be dangerous, depending on how you use them.