Friday, August 8, 2014

Kids in Danger: Ellie’s Story & How to Keep Kids Safe While Traveling

This week we are pleased to feature the invaluable article below written by Laura Nikolovska and Lauren Daurizio.  The tragic tale of Ellie is a heart-breaking reminder about how important it is to keep abreast of all product recalls.  Our thanks to Laura and Lauren and Kids In Danger for their great work and dedication to keeping kids safe through education and advocacy.


Ellie was 13 months old when her travel crib strangled her. Her grandparents had bought the crib so she would have somewhere to sleep when she traveled to their home. They were unaware, however, that the crib contained a deadly design flaw, which trapped her neck between a side rail and attached tray. Stronger safety standards for children’s products, like the travel crib, could have prevented Ellie’s death.

Kids In Danger (KID) is a Chicago-based nonprofit that is dedicated to promoting awareness about recalled children’s products, including products that parents use while they are traveling or away from home with their children. We have seen too many children, like Elliekilled by unsafe products.

There are some basic safety precautions parents can take to help keep their children safe while traveling.

  • Check your products for recalls, stay informed by signing up for alerts from Kids In Danger, and report all unsafe children’s products and related injuries to
  • Always use an appropriate infant or booster car seat when traveling. Check to make sure the seat hasn’t been recalled. Review these car seat safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Make sure your baby has a safe place to sleep. KID warns against the use of travel beds and other products with weak industry standards. Review KID’s Safe Sleep Tips for guidelines on creating safe sleep environments.
  • As of December 28th, 2012, all places of public accommodation, such as hotels, must provide cribs that meet the new federal standards of safety. Parents should either call the hotel ahead of time and confirm that the make and model of the crib complies with the new standards, or bring their own safe sleeping product.
  • High chairs and strollers should have harnesses to prevent babies from falling out. Check borrowed high chairs, strollers and other children’s products for recalls.

Though your baby might only stay in a hotel crib or grandma’s house a couple of times a year, that does not mean that unknown crib, play yard, or travel seat is harmless. Any product your baby uses, sleeps in, or travels in away from home, no matter how infrequently, should be inspected as closely as any products kept in your house. 

Check out for more information about child product safety and what you can do to help. Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for the latest safety news and recall alerts, and sign up for email alerts!

About the authors:

Laura M. Nikolovska
Laura Nikolovska came to Kids in Danger in September 2012 after 5 years in the education sector. From 2009- 2011, she served as an Education Advisor for the US Peace Corps in the Republic of Macedonia. Prior to her service with the Peace Corps, she was a social studies teacher at Latino Youth Alternative High School in Chicago. She graduated Cum Laud with a degree in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri, where she was an NCAA student athlete. She is currently working towards a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Non- Profit Administration from The University of Notre Dame.

Lauren Daurizio
Lauren Daurizio is working at Kids In Danger for 9 weeks through the University of Chicago Summer Links program, which places a select group of students at various nonprofits throughout the city. She is originally from Northern New Jersey, where she has worked as a camp counselor for 7 years. She is currently going into her third year of undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago, and is double-majoring in Gender Studies and Undecided (for now). 

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