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Protecting Children through Product Safety: Q&A with Dev Gowda


Dev Gowda is deputy director of Kids In Danger (KID), a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children by fighting for product safety. Gowda is also a member of ANSI’s Consumer Interest Forum. Prior to joining KID, Gowda spent five years working at nonprofit consumer groups Illinois PIRG and U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group), where he advocated on several different issues ranging from consumer protection and product safety to voting rights. Dev currently serves on ASTM International committees and is a champion for improving safety standards—especially for children’s products.

How did you start your career in advocacy? 

I first became interested in public policy during my time working under Professor Jennie Green at the University of Minnesota Law School’s Human Rights Litigation and Advocacy Clinic. In my work on the policy and advocacy side of the law, I saw that certain lawmakers were attempting to weaken an anti-corruption and bribery law that made it illegal for corporations to bribe foreign officials. Although I understood the meaningfulness of helping a select few clients, I quickly realized the important role I could play in helping society as a whole by changing the law for the betterment of the whole. So, as I was finishing law school, I started looking for jobs in policy and advocacy. I began working as a policy advocate with Illinois PIRG, and then U.S. PIRG, where I saw the impact of working at both the state and federal advocacy levels. I also saw the effectiveness of corporate campaigns to get companies to do better—whether it was getting fast food restaurants to go antibiotic-free in their meat to help prevent antibiotic resistance, or personal care product companies to disclose harmful fragrance ingredients.

I started working at KID about six years ago, and have worked on nearly all of KID’s priority issue areas, such as recall effectiveness, safe sleep, ingestion hazards, design safety, and much more. KID was founded in 1998 by the parents of Danny Keysar, who died when a portable crib collapsed around his neck at his childcare home. We continue to honor Danny’s legacy, strengthening safety standards on children’s products, amplifying messages about recalls and unsafe products, educating caregivers about how to create a safe environment for children, and working to assure that designers and engineers keep safety top of mind in the product design process.

KID works with designers and engineers in unique ways. Tell us more about that.

No one plans to design a product that puts our most vulnerable consumers—infants and children—at risk, but still, each year tens of thousands of kids are injured and hundreds die in incidents associated with infant and children’s products. That’s why KID works to promote design safety, designing hazards out of products before they enter the marketplace.

KID has a long-standing program called Teach Early Safety Testing (TEST), where were partner with university engineering departments to incorporate design safety into the curriculum. We also launched the KID Design Safety Toolkit in summer 2022—a free online course on designing, developing, and marketing children’s products more safely.

How has the KID Design Safety Toolkit been received?

We have gotten great feedback and support from people at all arenas of product development, such as designers and engineers, at both large and small companies. Some companies told us they require the Toolkit as part of their onboarding for new employees, making sure that safety is a part of their company culture. KID staff has promoted the Toolkit through webinars for groups including Etsy, Society of Product Safety Professionals, and Women in Toys, and also at ICPHSO conferences. We just added Spanish and Mandarin subtitles, as well.

We recently launched Part 2 of the Toolkit, which takes a deeper dive into four main children’s product categories: Sleep, At Home, Play, and Out & About. The Toolkit and the new courses are available free of charge. Learn more and register for the KID Design Safety Toolkit at

What’s next for you and KID?

My goal and my hope for KID is that we continue to be a much-needed voice and advocate for children and product safety. This means continuing our advocacy work to strengthen safety standards, expanding our relationships with other stakeholders to further children’s product safety, and reaching parents and caregivers in underserved communities with our life-saving information. From KID’s early years, we know the power of parents and caregivers as advocates and messengers, and encourage our members and supporters to join us. That can mean following us online on our blogs and social media @kidsindanger, and working with us on behalf of children and families to strengthen standards on children’s products. You can see all the ways to get involved on our website at

Want to contribute to product safety standards? Visit ANSI’s Consumer and Standards page to learn more.

Headshot of Dev Gowda


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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