6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, The Nation’s First House Dedicated to Child Safety
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(ABC 6 News) – Every year, tens of thousands of children are injured by products and appliances in and around the house, many of which can be easily prevented.
Now there’s a new, hands-on way to help parents spot those hidden dangers.
Consumer Reports takes us inside a first-of-its kind house created by a family that turned a tragedy into something to help other families, and save lives.
On November 1, 2007, Brett Horn’s life changed forever: His two-and-a-half-year-old son Charlie was killed while attempting to climb on a small dresser in his bedroom.
Turning tragedy into a mission, Brett and his wife Jenny created Charlie’s House – the nation’s first safety demonstration home – designed from the ground up and dedicated to reducing at-home accidents and injuries. It opened in Kansas City, Missouri in 2021.
“It’s a place where parents and caregivers can come and they can learn how to properly childproof their home,” says Horn.
Whether it’s unsafe sleep practices in a nursery, furniture prone to tipping over in the bedroom and living room, poisonous items and choking hazards in the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry area – or fire hazards and how to avoid them.
“There are so many hidden hazards that exist within the home, and this house is a place that parents and caregivers can visit to learn about various hazards that exist, and learn what they can do to prevent risks,” says Consumer Reports’ Gabe Knight.
For years, Consumer Reports worked alongside parents like Horn and other safety advocates demanding tougher standards for furniture.
The recently enacted STURDY Act does just that – establishing a mandatory safety standard for clothing storage furniture — like the dresser that killed Charlie. It will be enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“It means that consumers are going to have a safer offering when they go to buy new dressers. And consumers can also expect an agency, the CPSC, to come forward with enforcement actions where appropriate, where we see noncompliance in the marketplace,” says Peter Feldman, Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
And sometimes as new products hit the market, new risks arise.
“New products are always a concern, so it’s important to keep up to date with new guidance on safe sleep and water beads that are dangerous to be ingested by children,” says Horn.
It’s a never-ending battle advocates like Horn and many others are embracing.