Playing With Danger
Dec. 12, 2000 (Washington) -- Despite recall notices and public
warnings, dangerous toys can still be found in people's homes, according to the
U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission.
"We can get recalled toys off store shelves," says
commission chair Ann Brown, "but the more difficult task is to get recalled
toys out of people's homes."
As a result, the commission is now launching a campaign to
inform parents about recalled toys that might still be in people's homes. The
campaign began Tuesday with the release of a list, encompassing a dozen
recently recalled toys.
This "dirty dozen" represent recalled toys that are
most likely to be found in children's toy chests because of their initial
widespread distribution, Brown says. In total, she says, about 50 million of
these toys were distributed prior to their recall, making it at least somewhat
likely that kids are still playing with them.
For instance, among the toys on that list is Burger King's
"Pokemon Balls," of which about 25 million were distributed between
November and December 1999. Also on the list is KFC's "Tangled Treeples
Toy," of which about 450,000 were distributed as part of a "kids
meal" promotion in June and July.
There is no way to estimate how many of these toys may still be
out there, Russ Rader, a spokesman for the commission, tells WebMD. But
recalled toys are immediately removed from store shelves, eliminating the
chance that parents may accidentally purchase a recalled toy once the problem
is discovered, he says.
Still, this list is not meant to outline all the recalled toys
that might be found in people's homes, Rader cautions. For example, there is a
chance that some parents may have picked up other previously recalled toys from
a thrift store, Rader points out. At times, children also may come in
possession of a previously recalled toy as a "hand-me-down" from a
sibling or friend, he notes.
Therefore, parents should check the commission's web site at www.cpsc.gov to get a full a list, Rader says. Parents also can
get a partial listing by calling the agency's toll-free hotline at
1-800-638-2772 or a full listing by sending a postcard to "Toy Recall
List," CPSC, Washington, DC 20207, he tells WebMD.
The good news is that most manufacturers will either refund,
replace, or repair recalled products, Brown says. But as a grandmother and
mother, it is best to have a new toy to give the child when taking away a
recalled one, she cautions.
While buying new toys, parents also should keep in mind that
not all toys are suited for the age, abilities, or skills of the child, Brown
says. To be on the safe side, Brown recommends reading the label. The label
provides age ranges for each toy that can be used as a guide to ensure that the
toy is suitable, she says.