Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Toy Recalls

By Christina VanGinkel

The recall of a toy is often a very serious issue. The idea that toy boxes across the country often contain toys that are deemed hazardous for one reason or another is a frightening prospect, especially when you consider that it may very well be the toy box that your own child or grandchild plays from daily! Sadly, once a toy is purchased, parents may forget its very existence, so even if they read or see information posted in a store about a specific recall, they may not even be aware that it pertains to a toy that a child dear to them may own.

A good way to stay alert to which toys may have a recall or warning on, is to get in the habit of checking online sites such as the Child Product Safety site, which lists recalls separated into easy to navigate categories, including:

Animals Stuffed / Not Stuffed
Bathtub Toys
Blocks / Sorting
Holiday / Seasonal
Infants / Cribs / Strollers
Musical Instruments
Play Sets / Activity Sets
Ride-On Toys
Sports Toys

Another site created by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC, also provides a convenient listing of the most recent product recalls right on the front page of their website, and you can sign up to receive an email whenever new product recalls are added to the lists. Categories include a variety also, including toys, child products, sports, and recreation, just to name a few. The search variables are customizable and easy to navigate.

On the most recent day that I visited these sites, I actually browsed several of the listed categories because I had bought four different toys at a local citywide garage sale event. All of the items appeared to be in good condition, but I wanted to make sure that if there was a recall or warning on any of them, I would not be endangering my young grandson just so that I could be happy that I saved a few dollars.

Keep in mind though, that many newly released toys and products have recalls on them, too. Just because an item is brand new does not necessarily mean that they did not discover an error or some other concern after the product was placed on store shelves for sale.

Besides toy recalls, also be aware of other products that your children or grandchildren use that may also be affected by recall issues. Safety seats for keeping them buckled in vehicles are an amazing step toward keeping little ones safe during daily travel here and there, but being aware of any recalls with the seat you use is as important as keeping them buckled up. Also, be sure not to use a second hand one if there is any chance that it might have been involved in a crash of any sort. Belts and buckles might appear to be in good condition, but be lacking their original strength from the force of the crash.

Gym sets and various other playground equipment, furniture, including beds, dressers, dressing tables, etc., can have recalls for a variety of reasons, including paint issues to stability. Strollers and infant carriers, and products such as thermometers, walkers, pacifiers, monitors, backpacks, rattles, and more should all occasionally be checked, especially when bringing something new home, be it new from the store, or new from a sale such as the one I recently shopped.

The information given in a recall will often include not only the information needed to identify the particular item in question, but often what stores they were sold in, and if they were marketed under various manufacturer names, along with date of manufacture, and time frame the items in question were most likely sold. Keeping in mind that second hand items, and items sold in many discount stores may easily fall outside of the date range given.

All of these and more can be found online via links from the Child Product Safety site, so take a few minutes and make sure that all the children dear to you are not coming into contact with any product that might endanger them instead of amuse them.

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