Product Hazards – Recalls

What is a recall? A recall is when the government and the manufacturer remove a product from the market because it is dangerous and poses a risk of serious harm. While both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recall products, most children’s products are covered by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Even if the product is removed from store shelves very few steps are taken to remove the product from homes, childcare facilities, secondhand stores and garage sales. Millions of recalled products are still in use.

What can be recalled? Everything. Toys are recalled, along with most infant and toddler products, such as cribs, strollers, high chairs and more.

How do products get recalled? Hazards in products come to CPSC in various ways. Sometimes a company will find a flaw in their own internal testing. Other times, unfortunately, it is found when a child is injured or killed. CPSC is limited in most cases to convincing the manufacturer to do a voluntary recall, so sometimes products remain in use, even if they have injured children.

How many recalls are there? Children’s products are recalled more than twice a week. That means there are on average over 100 children’s products recalled per year. Chances are you have a recalled product, which is why it is so important to check.

If two children’s products are recalled every week why don’t I hear about them? When a product is recalled – even a product that has killed multiple children – manufacturers rarely pay to advertise the recall. Instead, they issue a press release. This news is very easy to miss. In fact, when a baby product is recalled, manufacturers typically only retrieve 10 to 30 percent of the units. This means that millions of dangerous recalled products are still in use, maybe even by you.

I think that a product is unsafe, what can I do? You are not alone if you have had a bad experience with children’s products, often it is not an accident but a product flaw. The best way to ensure that it doesn’t happen again or to someone else is to report any incidents or other problems to the product manufacturer and to CPSC. You can also review other consumers’ reports at SaferProducts.gov.

Help! I have a recalled product, now what? First thing is to stop using it! Products are recalled for a reason, because they are dangerous. Don’t take any chances by continuing to use a product that is not safe. Find the recall notice either by searching for it on the CPSC web site, or by calling CPSC at 1-800-636-CPSC. The notice will tell you if you need to return the product for a refund, or order a replacement part to make the product safe.