CPSC Chairman Warns of Previously Recalled Toys as Holiday Shoppers Descend on Stores

November 29, 2004

“Gift buyers should be on the lookout for recalled toys and children’s products this holiday season,” according to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Hal Stratton.

Stratton was joined by Gary Smith, MD, chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention; and Charlene Zettel, director of California’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) recently at CPSC’s annual Holiday Toy Safety Press conference in Washington, DC. “Recalled products pose potentially serious safety threats to youngsters,” Stratton said.

CPSC has reports of 11 toy-related deaths involving children under age 15 that occurred in 2003. Most of these deaths occurred when a child choked on or aspirated a toy. The toys involved in these incidents were small balls, balloons, a game piece and a toy bead. Also, in 2003, an estimated 155,400 children were treated for toy-related injuries in U.S. hospital emergency rooms, down nearly 23 percent since 2001.

To further reduce deaths and injuries, and to quickly get the word out about consumer safety issues, Stratton announced the launch of the Neighborhood Safety Network (NSN). NSN is a web-based grassroots initiative aimed at delivering lifesaving information to hard-to-reach consumers.

“The Neighborhood Safety Network will get important safety information to older Americans, urban and rural low-income families, new parents and minority groups,” Stratton remarked.

The AAP is supporting the renewed federal push to increase recall effectiveness. “As a longtime partner of the CPSC on toy safety isues, the AAP has been working with the agency on the NSN project since the recall of children’s lead jewelry last summer,” Smith added. “Pediatricians are using CPSC safety posters in their offices to ensure that their patients receive this information.”

Another important component of the Neighborhood Safety Network is close cooperation with state consumer safety departments across the nation. “We welcome CPSC’s effort to reach vulnerable populations with safety information, because increased awareness can help reduce deaths and injuries,” Zettel remarked.

Other partners in the Neighborhood Safety Network include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, National SAFE KIDS Coalition, Meals on Wheels, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Community groups and individual consumers can download the new holiday safety poster and sign up to receive all NSN safety and recall information at the CPSC Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

Consumers also should check that their gift lists do not include any of the recalled toys or children’s products on CPSC’s checklist. These items were recalled during the last year. Individuals should not find them for sale now but check any gifts purchased earlier this year against the list.

Checklist of previously recalled toys and children’s products

Bumble Bee Toys (398,000) distributed by Graco Children’s Products. Graco received 26 reports of the antennae breaking off the bumble bee toys, including five reports of children who started to choke on the broken antennae. One child’s throat was scratched when the child’s mother removed the broken antenna from the child’s mouth. Call Graco at (800) 258-3213 to receive a free replacement toy.

Nerf® Big Play Football (294,000) distributed by Hasbro. The football contains a hard plastic interior frame that can pose a risk of facial cuts if a child is hit during play. There have been nine reports of facial injuries, including eight requiring stitches or medical attention. Call Hasbro at (866) 637-3244 or visit the firm’s Web site at www.nerf.com to receive a replacement NERF product of equal value.

Children’s Mirror Books (225,000) distributed by Kids II Inc. The mirror in the books can crack or break, posing a laceration hazard to young children. Kids II has received 26 reports of the mirror cracking or breaking, including four reports of cuts and one report of a pinched finger. Call Kids II at (877) 325-7056 or visit the firm’s Web site at www.kidsii.com for instructions on returning the mirror for a refund.

Radio-Control Toy Trucks (287,000) distributed by Nikko America Inc. A problem with the circuit board causes the toy truck to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard. No injuries have been reported. Call Nikko America at (866) 232-6013 for instructions on returning the product for a free circuit board replacement.

Ride-On Toys (70,000) distributed by Tek Nek Toys International. The screw and nut assembly attaching the steering wheel can come loose, posing a choking and aspiration hazard to young children. Tek Nek Toys has received six reports of the screw and nut coming loose, including the death of an 18-month-old boy who aspirated a screw. Call Tek Nek Toys at (888) 661-0222 to receive free replacement parts.

BATMAN™ BATMOBILE™ Toy Vehicle (314,000) distributed by Mattel Inc. The rear tail wings of the Batmobile are made of rigid plastic and come to a point, which poses a potential puncture or laceration hazard to young children. Mattel has received 14 reports of injuries consisting of scrapes, scratches, lacerations and punctures. Four of the injuries required medical treatment. Call Mattel at (888) 271-9891 to determine if the toy is among the recalled models and to order the free replacement wings if needed.

Children’s Athletic Shoes (441,000) distributed by Payless ShoeSource Inc. The metal eyelet lace holder at the top of the shoes can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children. Payless ShoeSource has received one report of a child starting to choke on a detached eyelet from one of these shoes. No injuries have been reported. Call Payless at (800) 654-697 or visit the firm’s Web site at www.payless.com for information on returning these shoes to a Payless ShoeSource store for a cash refund or exchange.

“Rock ‘N Roller” Baby Strollers (300,000) distributed by Dorel Juvenile Group USA. If the stop pins are bent or missing or the seat is not fully attached, the seat can partially detach from the frame during use and the infant occupant can be injured in a fall. There have been 77 reports of problems related to the stroller seats. Injuries included one child who fell and had a slight concussion and another child who cut his forehead and required stitches. Additionally, there were 46 reports of bumps and bruises. Call Dorel Juvenile Group at (800) 711-0402 to determine how to inspect the stroller for possible replacement.

Metal Toy Jewelry Sold in Vending Machines (150 million pieces) by four toy jewelry importers (AA Global Industries Inc., Brand Imports, Cardinal Distributing Co. and L.M. Becker & Co. Inc.). Some of the toy jewelry contains dangerous levels of lead. CPSC has received one report of lead poisoning when a child swallowed a piece of toy jewelry containing lead that was previously recalled. No reports of injuries or illnesses have been received from products by these companies listed above. Consumers should throw away recalled jewelry.

Toddler’s Athletic Shoes (140,000) distributed by Reebok International. The I-3 logo-tag on the tongue of the shoe can be peeled off, posing a choking hazard to young children. Reebok has received a report of an 8-month-old child mouthing the logo-tag. The tag was removed without injury. Call Reebok at (800) 843-4444 or visit the firm’s Web site at www.reebok.com to receive a refund.

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