Product safety

Issue

Injuries to young children from the use of consumer products are common, frequently serious and sometimes fatal.Toddler playing with wooden blocks

Child and youth injury in review, 2009 edition - Spotlight on consumer product safety.

Problem

According to the Children's Hospitals Injury Reporting & Prevention Program (CHIRPP), every year in Canada, more than 14,000 paediatric emergency room visits are for children under the age of 10, who have been injured by consumer products found in and around the home (1). Recalls on children's products have significantly increased in recent years from 28 voluntary recalls in 2006 to 118 in 2008; this constitutes a 235 per cent increase over three years. While survey results have shown that the vast majority of Canadians believe that a product is safe because it is available on the market, this is not necessarily the case. Children are particularly vulnerable to product-related injuries because of their size, their developmental abilities and because they often use a product in ways outside of its intended use, e.g., sucking or chewing on toy parts or jewelry.

Improved product safety in Canada

On Dec. 15, 2010, Bill C-36:  An Act respecting the safety of consumer products, received Royal Assent and became law. Bill C-36 introduces new safety legislation that suppliers will have to meet, and new tools for Health Canada to better protect the health and safety of Canadians through effective enforcement measures such as mandatory testing and mandatory recalls of dangerous products. 

We thank our partners for their work over the years to strengthen consumer product safety in Canada:   

  • Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research
  • Atlantic Collaborative on Injury Prevention
  • Brent Hagel, PhD, Alberta Children's Hospital and Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary
  • Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres
  • Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association
  • Canadian Institute of Child Health
  • Canadian Public Health Association
  • Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario
  • Child Safety Link
  • Ecojustice
  • Environmental Defence
  • Ontario Poison Centre
  • Option Consommateurs
  • Safe Saskatchewan
  • Saskatchewan Prevention Institute
  • SMARTRISK