When a product is recalled, you may expect it will be removed from store shelves or online marketplaces. This is not always a safe assumption. In this year’s Trouble in Toyland report, U.S. PIRG reports several toys which were recalled this year were still being sold afterward on popular websites. Last year, a Wall Street Journal investigation found Amazon was selling thousands of unsafe or banned products.
These are upsetting headlines. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalls toys when they pose a safety hazard to children. Recalls are typically only called after a report or several reports of injuries or near injuries.
Once a toy is recalled, consider it unsafe to use. Our Boston product liability lawyers share our safety tips for steering clear of unsafe toys this holiday season:
Look Up Past Toy Recalls
Visit the CPSC website and review product recalls for 2020. According to U.S. PIRG, 10 products were recalled in the 12 months between the release of its 2019 and 2020 report.
You can visit this website after you have selected a toy and before you make a purchase. Or it may be helpful to start your holiday shopping there. Search for “toy recalls” or look through all the product recalls. Note that this website does not include automobile recalls. You can find these on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website.
Beware of Amazon, Ebay and Marketplace Websites
Some retailers only offer their own products online. Others – such as Amazon and Ebay – are marketplaces where different vendors sell products and toys. These products may be new or they may be used.
Both the sellers and websites have a responsibility to make sure they are not selling recalled products.
In August 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was selling more than 4,000 items which federal agencies had declared unsafe or banned. Others had misleading labeling. At least 2,000 listings were for unsafe toys and medications.
The story showed the challenges Amazon has regulating its own marketplace. If you shop on Amazon or EBay, look for information about the seller. Is a company the seller or an individual? If you have never heard of the seller, you may not want to make a purchase.
Watch for Small Parts
When buying online, one potential danger is buying a toy which contains small parts. To protect your children, always read age recommendations and look for warning labels.
Toys which are designed for children under age 3 should be labeled if they contain small parts. Toys for children age 3 to 6 must also be labeled if they contain small parts. Read our blog on identifying small parts and toy safety warnings.
Beware of Purchasing Toys on Social Media Sites
You may have heard of Facebook Marketplace or other social media sites where you can sell used toys and products. Avoid buying used toys for children here during the holidays. We also suggest you avoid buying toys from these sites during other seasons, but especially during the holidays when many of us just wait for online sales to pop up.
There is no quality control. In most cases, the product is no longer in the packaging so you can’t read the safety warnings and age recommendations.
If you buy a used product this way, you really have no way of knowing when it was purchased. You may not have a product number or product instructions.
Children’s products, such as cribs, car seats and strollers, may carry the greatest risks. These products are frequently recalled and many model types look similar. While it is illegal to sell recalled products, it happens.
One frightening story came after Fisher Price and Kids II issued their crib recalls in early 2019. Despite this, 1 in 10 daycares was still using a Fisher Price Rock n’ Play sleeper in August 2019. In Nov. 2019, Consumer Reports reported found hundreds of the recalled sleepers available online, on sites such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. In addition, Consumer Reports warned other products – including Ikea dressers recalled in 2016 were still being sold.
Free Legal Consultation – Boston Toy Safety Lawyers
With more than 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston specializes in the representation of clients injured by unsafe or defective toys and products. We are writing about toy safety this holiday season to help parents and families make safe shopping decisions. Read our past toy safety blogs.
After more than 70 infant deaths involving inclined sleepers, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and lawmakers continue working to prevent injuries.
The CPSC recently announced the recalls of over 165,000 infant sleepers from four companies: Summer Infant, Evenflo, Delta Enterprise Corp. and Graco. Thankfully, these recalls are not related to any deaths or injuries. They are part of the CPSC’s ongoing work to protect children after Fisher-Price’s startling revelations about its Rock ‘n Play, which has been linked to dozens of infant deaths. However, these models have not been linked to injuries, according to the CPSC and at least one company initially refused the CPSC’s efforts.
Graco is recalling the largest number of units, 111,000 Graco Little Lounger Rocking Seats. Sumr Brands is recalling 43,000 SwaddleMe By Your Bed Sleepers. Delta Inclined Sleepers is recalling about 5,900 units and Evenflo has about 3,100 units involved in the recall.
If you own one of these sleepers, you can read the recall notices on the CPSC website. You should be able to contact the manufacturer and return your sleeper for a cash refund or a voucher.
Consumers are urged to stop using the inclined infant sleepers. It is better to return the infant sleepers, rather than discard them in the trash.
Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play
Parents received the first frightening warning about inclined infant sleepers last April, when Fisher-Price issued an advisory for parents, initially announcing 10 babies had died in the sleeper after turning from their back to their stomach, then suffocating. The company warned parents not to let children use the sleeper after 3 months old.
Within days, facing outrage from parents and new allegations, Fisher-Price acknowledged more deaths and had to replace its advisory with a recall notice for 4.7 million Rock n’ Play sleepers. Because this product was sold for 10 years, this has been a massive recall. Adding to the challenge is so many companies have followed Fisher-Price’s lead and developed similar inclined sleep products.
After Fisher-Price, we learned that Kids II was also facing allegations that several infants had died in its sleepers. The company recalled 700,000 products in late April, just a few weeks after Fisher-Price took action.
Federal Legislation to Ban Inclined Sleepers
The CPSC has been working with other companies to identify unsafe sleepers while advising consumers not to use inclined sleep products. The Fisher-Price sleeper and other models are dangerous because they sit at a 30 degree incline. Babies can roll over and suffocate. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to put infants on flat surfaces to sleep and remove blankets, toys and other items. Researchers from the University of Arkansas have also recommended flat surfaces for sleeping and have said any incline should fall under 10 degrees.
Federal legislation has been proposed to ban inclined these sleepers altogether. According to Consumer Reports, the Safe Sleep for Babies Act has already passed in the House of Representatives. If this happens, the CPSC will not have to pursue product recalls one by one and negotiate with each manufacturer.
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Breakstone, White & Gluck has over 100 years combined experience representing those injured by the negligence of others in Massachusetts. Our attorneys have extensive experience in the area of product liability and defective products. For a free legal consultation, contact our firm at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
Parents, as school begins, there are good reasons to double check your child’s backpack, daycare program and dorm room, as well as online purchases. There have been several recent recalls and news reports about unsafe products, providing warnings for children of all ages.
Dangerous Products on Amazon. It’s convenient to place a quick order on Amazon and see the package arrive in no time. But a Wall Street Journal investigation has found the retailer is actually selling thousands of unsafe products. These products have been declared unsafe by federal agencies, are deceptively labeled or are banned by federal regulators. The Journal’s investigation documented 4,152 dangerous products, including toys and medications, according to news reports.
Amazon draws the majority of its business from third-party merchant sales and the report questions Amazon’s oversight of these sellers. Meanwhile, the company has reportedly removed some of the products and said it is committed to consumer safety, investing over $400 million toward these efforts in 2018.
Always do your research when making online purchases and open packages as soon as they arrive. Check that the packaging matches what appears online. Parents should carefully inspect the age recommendations and take inventory of unexpected pieces and parts that could cause choking and other injuries.
Contigo Water Bottles. Contigo has recalled 5.7 million of its Contigo Kids Cleanable Water Bottles, saying they can detach and pose a choking hazard. The Chicago-based company has received 149 complaints, including 18 reports of children found with the detached spout in their mouths. Contigo will provide a free replacement lid for the products. Read more.
Infant Sleepers. Fisher-Price issued a product recall for the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleepers back in April. But the unsettling news is some of the recalled cribs are still in use. In a survey of 376 daycare centers, one in four were still using at least one of Fisher-Price’s recalled sleepers, according to USA Today. This report just came out in the last few days.
Parents please read this article and talk to your child’s daycare provider. Fisher-Price recalled the sleepers following 10 deaths. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is now aware of more than 30 infant deaths.
Battery-Operated Skateboards. We want to mention a news headline out of Ohio because while it’s several states away, it provides an important warning for Massachusetts parents of college students. On Tuesday, a battery-operated skateboard sparked a 5th floor dormitory fire at the University of Cincinnati, causing a reported $20,000 in damage to Calhoun Hall, a 12-story structure housing hundreds of students. Fortunately, no injuries were reported. Officials have not identified the product which caused the fire, but the incident is a reminder that dangerous products can have a far more devastating effect in college housing. Read and follow the college’s guidelines on products which are not permitted.
Stay Informed About Product Recalls
Because there is nothing more critical than your child’s safety and well-being, we urge you to check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to learn about other recent recalls. To stay informed, you can sign up for regular email alerts about product recalls or visit the CPSC website periodically.
Contact a Boston Product Liability Attorney
Breakstone, White & Gluck has represented those injured by defective products in Massachusetts for more than 25 years. We periodically share information on product recalls and unsafe products to help prevent injuries before they happen.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective product, seek immediate medical attention. Preserve the product and contact an attorney to learn your legal rights.
Please check your smoke alarms when you get home. Kidde has recalled nearly half a million smoke alarms, urging consumers to check devices for yellow caps potentially left on during the manufacturing process. According to the company’s recall notice, the cap would be on one of two sensors inside the smoke detector, compromising the device. Consumers have to do this inspection carefully. You will be looking for the yellow cap through the opening on the side of the device, as shown in the photo. Be careful not to open the smoke alarm or take it apart.
Because Kidde is one of the largest manufacturers, every consumer should check their smoke alarm. If you have a Kidde device, you will need to take it off the wall or ceiling to check the date code on the back. The recalled smoke alarms were dated September 10, 2016 through October 13, 2017. They were sold through January 2018 at Home Depot, Walmart and other retailers. They were manufactured in China, by Fyrnetics Limited, of Hong Kong.
PI9010 (DC/battery powered)
Date codes: Sept. 10, 2016 through Oct. 13, 2017
Date codes: Sept. 10, 2016 through Oct. 13, 2017
Steps for Inspecting Your Smoke Alarm
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recall notice warns consumers not to open the device. Take it off the ceiling or wall, then inspect the alarm through the opening on the side of the device. If you see a yellow cap, you should immediately contact Kidde toll-free at 833-551-7739 for a free replacement. We encourage you to read the recall notice for hours of operation and other information.
Kidde issued the product recall after the yellow cap was found on a smoke alarm which was about to be installed in a consumer’s home. No injuries or incidents reported. Kidde recalled 452,000 smoke alarms sold in the United States and about 40,000 in Canada.
Importance of Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms are fundamental to safety. Massachusetts has strict laws requiring installation in residential and commercial property. Yet 3 out of 5 home fire deaths in the U.S. are caused by smoke alarm failures, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Nearly 40 percent of these homes had no smoke alarms and about 20 percent had non-working smoke alarms.
Do everything you can to protect your family. Commit to replace the batteries when you set the clocks back or ahead for Daylight Saving Time. Regularly test your smoke alarm batteries every month.
Please share this recall with family members and friends. Offer to help anyone who needs it. In addition to the elderly, check in with college students or adult children who are living in apartments. Also check in with any family members who are new homeowners, still getting to know their appliances.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our lawyers specialize in personal injury, medical malpractice and product liability cases. Our lawyers are committed to fighting for justice for those who have been seriously injured or killed by the negligence and wrongdoing of others. If you have been injured, learn your rights. For a free consultation, contact our attorneys at 800-379-1244 or use our contact form.