Playing With Danger
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.
Brown also recommends avoiding toys with small parts that could pose a choking hazard for children under age 3, and toys with sharp edges or points for all children under age 8. Brown says that parents also should immediately discard the plastic wrappings found on the package because these wrappers can suffocate.
"It is important that parents always keep safety in mind," she says.
The "dirty dozen" toys include:
- "Pokemon Balls" distributed in Burger King kid meals: According to the commission, these balls can suffocate children under age 3 if either half of the ball gets stuck on the child's face. The commission says it is aware of a 13-month-old girl and a 4-month-old boy who reportedly suffocated because of these balls. The balls can be returned to a Burger King restaurant for a free small order of fries.
- The "Tangled Treeples Toy" distributed in KFC kid meals: The container can fit over a child's nose and mouth, posing a suffocation hazard to children under age 3, according to the commission. It says it is aware of at least one 19-month-old girl who reportedly got the container stuck to her face. The container can be returned to any KFC restaurant for an individual-sized side item.
- The "Fazoli's Pasta Pals" distributed in Fazoli's kid meals from January to August: Like the KFC toy container, this toy's container can fit over a child's nose and mouth, according to the report. The agency says Fazoli has received at least one report of a child that did this. The container can be returned to any Fazoli's restaurant for a free Italian Lemon Ice. A total of 310,000 units were distributed prior to the recall.
- The "Kent Kickin' Mini Scooters" and "Kash n' Gold Racer X20 Scooters" sold from May through September: The Kent scooter handles can unexpectedly come off, causing the rider to lose control and fall, the agency says. The commission says it know of at least four children who have now suffered injuries, including at least one broken arm. The Kash n' Gold scooter has a plastic joint between the handlebars that can break, also causing the rider to lose control. Both scooters can be returned for a full refund or a new scooter with upgraded parts. A total of 90,000 Kent scooters and 7,500 Kash n' Gold scooters were sold prior to the recall.
- All toy basketball nets sold between 1976 and 1998: These nets can strangle children when they become unhooked from the rim, according to the report. The agency has now received more than 20 reports of children under age 5, whose head or neck got caught in the net. It also is aware of an 18-month-old child who died after becoming entangled in an unhooked net. New nets, the agency says, can be obtained by calling the manufacturers. About 11 million were sold prior to the recall.
- The "Sky Dancer Flying Dolls" sold between 1994 and 2000: These dolls can fly off in unpredictable directions, injuring both children and adults alike, according to the commission. The agency says it knows of about 170 incidents in which the dolls caused a variety of injuries, including one broken rib. The toy can be returned to its maker, Galoob Toys Inc., to receive a replacement product of equal value. Almost 9 million dolls were sold prior to the recall.
- The "Wiggle Waggle Caterpillar" sold from 1998 to 2000: This toy represents a choking hazard to children under age 3 because the small balls attached to the toy can come off. The commission has received one report of a 5-month-old girl choking to death on one of these balls. The toy can be returned to its maker, Child Guidance, for another toy of similar value. One million caterpillars were sold before the recall.
- The battery-powered toy riding vehicles sold by Tek Nek Toys, Empire Industries, and Fisher-Price from 1995 through 2000: The battery charger can overheat, presenting a fire hazard, the report says. The foot pedals also can stick in the "on" position, causing the vehicle to strike other objects. Before the recall, 500,000 of the toys were sold.
- The "Busy Popping Pals" sold by Playskool between 1994 and 2000: These toys have small springs that can break loose and choke or cut young children. So far, the agency is aware of about 25 such incidents, they say. The toy can be replaced with a newly redesigned version by calling Playskool. Almost 600,000 units were distributed prior to the recall.
- The "Klackeroo" sold by Playskool between 1997 and 2000: This toy's geometrically shaped pieces can become detached, posing a choking hazard to infants and young children, the commission says. Playskool has in fact received 10 reports of the parts becoming detached, including four cases where those parts were found in the mouth of an infant or young child, the agency says. A redesigned replacement can be obtained by calling Playskool, which sold 550,000 Klackeroos prior to the recall.
- The "Leapfrog Alphabet Pal" electronic pull toys sold from June 1999 through November 2000 by Knowledge Kids Enterprises Inc.: This toy has a red plastic connector on the pull string that can be pulled apart, posing a choking hazard, according to the report. The company has received nine reports of the connector coming off, although none resulted in an injury. But unlike the other toys, the agency says, this toy can be repaired. Parents that wish to keep the toy may simply cut off the strings, the commission says. A total of 500,000 were sold before the recall.
- The "Xylophone Mallets from Stand-Up 'N Play Tables" sold between 1996 through 1999: These mallets represent a choking hazard to young children, according to the agency. It says it is aware of at least one 13-month-old boy who almost choked on a mallet after he fell while teething on it. The mallets can be replaced by calling the toys' maker, Shelcore, at 1-800-777-0453. Shelcore sold 124,000 of them before the recall.