The U.S. government recalls hundreds of products each year. While the media and public word-of-mouth expose the most widespread dangers, it can be overwhelming for a parent to keep up with lesser-known announcements.
What’s more, not all toys on store shelves meet standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and there is no complete list of potentially hazardous toys. Second-hand products, including hand-me-downs, yard sale items and more, may have been recalled in the past without the former owner being aware. Recalled cribs, bassinets, play yards, window blinds and toys are especially common.
So, it’s up to each of us as consumers to stay informed and to protect our children the best we can. Here are some tips:
- Subscribe to email lists. Several organizations send email alerts of new product recalls. Sign up at http://www.recalls.gov/list.html.
- Register car seats. To receive automated recall notices on car seats, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- View a recalls list. Visit the CPSC website for a thorough list of product recalls, including household products and appliances.
- Report unsafe products. If you find an unsafe toy, or experience a toy-related injury, contact the CPSC at http://www.cpsc.gov/ or 1-800-638-2772.
- Respond to recalls. If you have a recalled product, carefully follow the government’s instructions, which may require you to stop using it, repair it or return it for a refund or replacement.
- Be cautious about metals in toys. While preventing lead exposure is the top priority, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends parents speak to their pediatrician if they are concerned about their child’s potential exposure to lead.