Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Decorations Recalled Today

The CPSC recalled two holiday decorations today. Included in the recalls are the Jumbo Snowman Snow Globes sold by Hallmark from October to November of 2008 and the Candle Powered Carousels sold at Gardener's Supply retail stores and website from September to November of 2008. Both decorations were recalled due to fire hazards.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Concerns about Safety of Second Hand Toy Purchases

Government safety officials are concerned that money-conscious parents will purchase holiday gifts from secondhand, online sellers, who may not be aware of safety issues.

In a study published in the journal Injury Prevention, many products recalled years ago including bassinets, strollers, play yards, and various toys are for sale on eBay. Study authors randomly selected about 150 items that were recalled by the CPSC between 1992 and 2004. After tracking them for a month on eBay, researchers found that nearly 70 percent of the goods were eventually sold (despite the site's policy prohibiting the sale of recalled products). It does not appear the sellers are purposely trying to unload dangerous items, says study author Keri Brown Kirschman, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Dayton. "They're just parents trying to recycle old children's stuff and are probably completely unaware that these items have been found to be dangerous."

In 2008, the recalled products included cribs sold as far back as 1995 and toys as old as 1999. Most parents either don't hear about the recalls or don't have the information necessary to know if their products are part of the recall (purchase date, product number, etc.)

Before purchasing from eBay or after purchasing from a second hand store, be sure to enter the purchase in your SmartToyChoice account to check for a previous recall.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Delta Enterprises Recalls Over 50 Different Drop Side Cribs Manufactured Since 1995

Today, the CPSC and Delta Enterprises recalled 1.5 million cribs sold from 1995 to 2007 due to missing or defective pegs in the legs of the cribs. There are over 50 different models included in the recall which can be found in your SmartToyChoice.com Recall Alert. The CPSC is aware of the death of an 8 month old, two children who became entrapped and nine disengagement incidents in the cribs where the safety pegs were missing or faulty. These cribs were sold at major retailers, including Walmart,Kmart and Target. These cribs have also been found to be sold secondhand. Parents and Caregivers should immediately stop using the cribs and contact Delta for a repair kit at www.cribrecallcenter.com or 800-816-5304.

Monday, September 29, 2008

New York Children's Product Safety and Recall Effectiveness Act of 2008

Earlier this month, New York Governor, David Patterson, signed into law the Children’s Product Safety and Recall Effectiveness Act of 2008. This law prevents recalled and defective toys and juvenile products from sitting on store shelves and will keep potentially dangerous products out of children’s hands. With all the CPSC recalls being voluntary, the stores are not required to stop selling the product. While the larger name store (Toys”R”Us , Target, Wal-Mart, etc) stop selling the products recalled by the CPSC, smaller, independent stores do not necessarily, possibly due to not hearing about the recall. Last summer, while shopping at a beach side souvenir store, I spotted Curious George Tin Pails that had been previously recalled sitting on the shelves to be sold.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another Crib Recall From Simplicity For a Total of 2.5 Million Simplicity Cribs Recalled in Last Year

According to a washingtonpost.com article, another 600,000 cribs made by Simplicity are being recalled because the drop side can come off, creating a gap where infants can become trapped and strangled.

Simplicity also made the 900,000 bassinets that retailers recalled nearly three weeks ago after a second infant died in one. The company recalled 1 million cribs in September 2007 because of similar problems with the drop side detaching. That recall was prompted by three deaths.

The models recalled today include the Aspen and Crib N Changer Combo, Gabrielle, Camille, Providence and Shenandoah models sold between January 2005 and August 2008.

The now-defunct Simplicity is owned by SFCA which continues to sell cribs and other children's furniture under the Simplicity name. In August, the CPSC issued a warning about the Simplicity bassinets because SFCA refused to do a recall. The company has said it did not assume legal responsibility for products made previously by Simplicity when it purchased the firm's assets in April. Retailers later agreed to carry out the bassinet recall and agreed to do today's recall as well. SFCA is cooperating with retailers in carrying out today's recall.

Consumers should return their cribs to the store where they bought them to receive a refund or store credit.

Click below for a link to the original washington post article.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We Have Crossed the Million Mark for Remote Controlled Helicopter Toys Recalled in 2008

Today the CPSC added another 78,000 Remote Controlled Helicopters to the 2008 toy recall list making the total remote controlled helicopters recalled for 2008 over 1 MILLION!

Today the Protocol Remote Controlled Mini Helicopter made in China was recalled due to reports of the rechargeable battery overheating and causing the helicopter to melt. The reports included one consumer whose fingertip was burned in the overheating.

These helicopters were sold in retail stores nationwide from October to December 2007.
I don't know about you but my son will NOT be receiving a remote controlled helicopter for Christmas!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Infants Strangled to Death in Simplicity Bassinets: CPSC Urges Consumers To Stop

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging parents and caregivers to stop using convertible “close-sleeper/bedside sleeper”bassinets manufactured by Simplicity Inc., of Reading, Pa. CPSC has learned thaton August 21, 2008, a 5-month-old girl from Shawnee, Kan. was strangled to deathwhen she became entrapped between the bassinet’s metal bars. This is the second strangulation death CPSC has learned of in the co-sleeper bassinets. On September29, 2007, a 4-month-old girl from Noel, Mo. became entrapped in the metal bars ofthe bassinet and died.

CPSC is issuing this safety alert because SFCA Inc., the company which purchasedall of Simplicity Inc.’s assets at public auction in April 2008, has refused to cooperate with the government and recall the products. SFCA maintains that it isnot responsible for products previously manufactured by Simplicity Inc.The Simplicity 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 convertible bassinets contain metal bars spacedfarther apart than 2 3/8 inches, which is the maximum distance allowed under thefederal crib safety standard. The metal bars are covered by an adjustable fabricflap which is attached by velcro. The fabric is folded down when the bassinet isconverted into a bed-side co-sleeping position. If the velcro is not properly re-securedwhen the flap is adjusted, an infant can slip through the opening and become entrappedin the metal bars and suffocate. This warning does not cover bassinets produced in recent months that have fabric permanently attached over the lower bar.

Due to the serious hazard these bassinets pose to babies, CPSC urges all consumersto share this safety warning with day care centers, consignment stores, family andfriends to ensure that no child is placed to sleep in a Simplicity convertible bassinetcovered by this warning.The Commission voted, using its new authorities in the Consumer Product Safety ImprovementAct, to release this warning upon making a finding that the health and safety ofthe public require immediate notice.

Today, CPSC is announcing that the following retailers havevoluntarily agreed to recall the product and provide a refund or store credit toconsumers who return the product to the store where purchased:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., of Bentonville, Ark. – (800) 925-6278 or www.walmart.com
Toys "R" Us Inc., of Wayne, N.J. - (800) 869-7787 or www.toysrus.com orwww.babiesrus.com
Kmart Corp., of Hoffman Estates, Ill. – (800) 659-7026 or www.kmart.com
Big Lots!, of Columbus, Ohio – (866) 244-5687 or www.biglots.com
Target of Minneapolis, Minnesota sold at www.target.com
onlyJ.C. Penney, of Plano, Texas – (888) 333-6063 or www.jcp.com

Below is a listing of Simplicity 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 Convertible "Close-Sleeper"model bassinets that are included in this recall. The model number can be found on a label on the underside of the bassinet.RECALLED Model Numbers:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

HABA Recalls 22 Wooden Infant Toys Due to Choking Hazard

The CPSC recalled 118,000 wooden toys made by HABA today. The wooden rattles, pacifier holders, and stroller toys contain small pieces including glued on mirrors and prisms that can detach and pose a choking hazard to infants. HABA has received 15 reports of the recalled puzzles, rattles, and pacifier holders detaching and being mouthed by young children. These wooden toys were made in Germany and sold from January 2002 to August 2008.

While the CPSC listed19 of the HABA toys recalled, the HABA site listed 22 toys recalled. The CPSC list included the following:

0972 Lucy Clutching Toy
0973 Little Heart Clutching Toy
0920 Clutching Toy Belinda
2268 Triolino Puzzle
0951 Miro
1037 Bunny Pacifier Chain
1048 Pacifier Chain Bear
0917 Speedy Clutching Toy
0971 Bella Clutching Toy
0919 Clutching Toy Pixie's World
0924 Clutching Toy Pirate
0974 Bonita Clutching Toy
0975 Rally Clutching Toy
1062 Pram Decoration Little Hearts
1066 Flori
1067 Triola
1184 Trio
3572 Discovery Ball W/rattle
3571 Discovery Balls, Set Of 4

The HABA site (www.HABAusa.com/safety) included these additional toys:

3708 Construction Site Stroller Chain
3739 Stellino Clutching Toy 3744 Tamtam Clutching Toy

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Update on Remote Controlled Helicopter Recalls

Today the CPSC added another remote controlled helicopter recall to the list for 2008. The Hobbico Heli-Max Axe CP-L rechargeable battery has reportedly overheated and or melted 28 times. Flames and minor property damage occurred during 27 of the reported times. These helicopter kits (which include the battery) were made in China and sold at hobby stores from November 2007 to March of 2008 for $200.

Remote Controlled Helicopter Kills 6 Year Old in Brazil

In an article reported by the associated press, a remote controlled helicopter spun out of control yesterday in Brazil and killed a 6 year old boy. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080818/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/brazil_model_helicopter

As reported in our blog post on July 25, close to one million remote controlled helicopters have been recalled by the CPSC in the US so far this year. The models recalled include the following:

Sky Scrambler
Sharper Image Helicopter
Sky Champion (sold at Walgreens)
AT600 Falcon by Hobby Lobby
and Fun2Fly Microcopter

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back to School Lead Concerns - Lunchboxes

As my daughter enters Kindergarten this fall, I am in search for a safe lunchbox. In my Internet searching, I came across the following from the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, California (CEH) (http://cehca.nonprofitsoapbox.com/index.php).

According to the CEH, over 200 children's soft vinyl lunchboxes that CEH has tested since 2004 contained high levels of lead. Lead was usually found in the lining of the lunchboxes where it could come into contact with food. The group said tests of one lunchbox made by Targus International contained more than 90 times the legal limit for lead paint in children's products.
Other brightly colored vinyl lunch boxes were tested featuring characters such as PowerPuff Girls, Superman and Hamtaro. All contained lead over the 600 ppm legal limit for lead in children's products.

In addition to being a known carcinogen and reproductive toxin, lead is a neurotoxin that can cause health effects such as behavioral problems and hearing problems in children that are exposed to low levels. Because it is difficult to tell by sight which lunchboxes contain lead, CEH is advising parents to buy products from companies that have committed to only sell lead-safe lunchboxes. If these are not available, the CEH recommends that parents avoid soft vinyl lunchboxes altogether, or test their own lunchboxes at home.

We are currently looking at www.reusablebags.com for a selection of lead free lunch bags including NY Munchlers and Mimi the Sardine for our daughter.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Fisher Price Returns to the Toy Recall Front

It has been nine months since Fisher Price was included in a toy recall. Today the CPSC recalled 15,000 of the Fisher Price Learning Pots and Pans due to a choking hazard. These toy pots and pans were recalled because the blue pan may be missing screws that hold the toy together. Fisher Price has received five reports of the plastic cover coming off of the toy releasing the small balls inside. The toy recall affects the Learning Pots and Pans manufactured in China and sold by Fisher Price from October 2007 to August 2008.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where is My Child's Toy Made? My Daughter's American Girl was Made in . . .

I was surprised today when I received in the mail by daughter's new American Girl Elizabeth Doll. This is our first purchase of American Girl products and when I went to enter the doll into my SmartToyChoice.com account, I noticed the doll was MADE IN CHINA.

You can find out where some of your children's favorite toys are made by going to the Toy Information page at www.SmartToyChoice.com (or click here http://www.smarttoychoice.com/index.php?action=Toy%20Information) and searching on the toy name or manufacturer. The toys we have in our system will list the country they were made in. Interesting to see where Barbie's, Transformer's, and Lego's are made!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Toy Recall Affects Even the "Natural" Toy Companies

Today Earthentree of Kirkland, Washington recalled 13 different wooden toys due to choking hazard, strangulation hazard and violating the federal rattle standard. This company's website advertises that they offer natural wooden toys that are safe, lead free and handmade. While this is great and I applaud, today is a reminder that even the safest companies can run into a manufacturing problem that leads to a recall.

Earthentree recalled the following wooden toys made in India and sold between December 2007 and May 2008:

Large and Small Maracas

Pom Pom Rail Train

Duby and Duba Pull Toy

Duby Duck Pull Toy

Katerpillar Pull Toy



Six Ring Rattle

Turtle Family Pull Toy

Cat Rattle

Bear Rattle

Tutto Turtle Pull Toy

Choo Choo Train

Friday, July 25, 2008

Close to One Million Remote Controlled Helicopters Recalled This Year Due to Fire and Burn Dangers

Yesterday the CPSC recalled the Sky Scrambler and Sharper Image Wireless Indoor Helicopters due to fire and burn dangers. This makes close to one million remote controlled helicopters recalled this year due to the rechargeable batteries overheating and posing a fire hazard. Some customers hands have even been burnt once the fire started. This is up from the 332,000 remote controlled vehicles recalled in 2007 and 243,000 in 2006. All of the 2008 remote controlled helicopters were made in China.

The 2008 Recalled Helicopters include the following:
Sky Scrambler
Sharper Image Helicopter
Sky Champion (sold at Walgreens)
AT600 Falcon by Hobby Lobby
and Fun2Fly Microcopter

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Update on June 20th Post about New Leap Frog Tag Learning System

After driving 17 hours on a trip recently with my children, I thought they would love the new Leap Frog Tag Reading System - unfortunately, the DVD player won out. Of all the books I bought to go with the Tag system, the National Geographic Cards received the most attention. My two year old enjoyed hearing the animal sounds and my five year old loved hearing about the animal. She was fascinated by the Tasmanian devil. Maybe on the next trip the books will be more interesting than the movies.

My other purchase for the trip, the Snack and Play Travel Tray was a success. It allowed the two year old to hold his toys on his lap and eat without spilling. It was very easy to set up too. My five year old borrowed it to use for coloring and we have since ordered her one of her own for our next trip.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Than 500,000 Units of Children's Jewelry Recalled Today Due to Lead

The CPSC recalled more than 500,000 units of children's jewelry today due to excessive lead. The recalls affected the following:

  • Faded Glory Lip Gloss, Locket and Bracelet Sets sold at Wal-Mart in 2008 (30,000 units)
  • Super Dooper Charms and Shoelace Charms Craft Kits sold since 2007 (18,500 units)
  • the necklace included in the Magical Ballet Slippers Book sold since 2003 (500,000 units)

All of the jewelry items were made in China.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Oh Chute Parachute and Streamer Fireworks Recalled

Oh Chute Parachute and Streamer Fireworks were recalled by the CPSC today. The parachutes can become entangled in overhead power lines causing a shock hazard to users and bystanders. More than 80,000 of the fireworks have been sold at fireworks stands between April 2007 and June 2008.

Fireworks Over America has received one report of entanglement, in which a consumer’s hand was burned and shocked.

Youth Beds Sold at Costco Result in Toddler Death

Today the CPSC issued a recall for the Lajolla Boat Bed and Pirates of the Caribbean Twin Trundle Beds as a result of the death of a 22 month old boy. The toddler was strangled when the lid of the toy chest fell on the back of his head and trapped his neck on the edge of the LaJolla Boat Bed.

These beds were sold at Costco stores, Costco.com and furniture retail stores from January 2006 to May 2008. Owners can contact Bayside at 877-494-2536 or http://www.baysidefurnishings.com/ to receive a free repair kit with replacement lid supports.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Great New Toy For Summer Travel

As we prepare for our summer travels, we have come across a great new toy from Leap Frog. The new Leap Frog Tag system allows children ages 4-8 to read a book while Mom and Dad are driving (or flying). The tag system is an electronic pen that the child uses to highlight words in books and the pen reads the word. The child can also choose to have the whole book or just a page read to them. Games and Activities are also included. The book selections with the system are fantastic. From Diego, I Spy, Disney Princess, Cars, Miss Spider, The Little Engine that Could (I could go on for a while) to National Geographic Animal Cards. My two year old will love to hear about the animals and their sounds on the animal cards. I will report back on the success of the toy with my children. You can purchase it by clicking here http://www.smarttoychoice.com/index.php?action=Toy%20Information%20Search (enter leapfrog tag)

My other great find is for our two year old. The Snack and Play Travel Tray straps over the child's car seat and provides them a table to play, color or eat on. The new tray is made of a foam and has been crash tested for safety. The tray can be purchased by clicking here http://www.smarttoychoice.com/index.php?action=Toy%20Information%20Search (enter snack tray)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another Round of PlayGround Equipment Recalled

15,000 Playsafe Spinning Quad Merry Go Rounds sold at Toys R Us were recalled today due to a fall hazard from a fautly bearing system on the seats. The manufacturer has received one report of an injury from a fall. These merry go rounds were sold at Toys R Us from January to March 2008 for $80 - $100.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Second Round of Playground Equipment Recalled

Today the CPSC recalled 11,000 Adventure Play Sets and Create N Adventure Wooden Play Sets sold at Wal-Mart and Toys R Us since the beginning of this year. Backyard Leisure has received 114 reports of the hangers for the glider swings breaking, including three reports of minor injuries to children. These wooden play sets were made in China.
This comes a month after the CPSC recalled 17,000 play sets sold to day care centers again due to fall hazards. The Playworld Systems Swing Sets which were recalled were made in the United States.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Car Seat Strap Position

When my daughter was a baby, I remember reading about car seat straps and there was a difference in where the strap should be if the car seat was forward facing or rear facing. As my son has now switched from rear facing to forward facing in the car seat, I have been trying to remember what I read all those years ago. Finally I found the information again on the Dorel Juvenille Group (maker of Cosco, Eddie Bauer and Safety 1st Car Seats) website.

Forward Facing Car Seat
For a child that is in the forward facing toddler position, the straps must be even with or above the child's shoulders.
Rear Facing Car Seat
For an infant that is rear facing, the harness straps should be even with or just below the baby's shoulders. If the harness is above the baby's shoulders with the straps in the lowest position, do not use the car seat until the baby grows into it.

SmartToyChoice has expanded its toy recall service to include other children's products including car seats.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

150,000 Remote Control Helicopters Recalled

Over 150,000 Remote Control Helicopters sold at Walgreens were recalled by the CPSC today due to Fire and Burn Hazards from the rechargeable battery. This is proof again of the following SmartToyChoice Ten Toy Recall Myths -

Only parents of preschool children need to worry about toy recalls
Not true. Parents of preschool children must worry about toy recalls, especially if their children are prone to putting toys in their mouths. Yet, not all recalls are for toys that cause problems when ingested. Easy Bake ovens were recalled because children’s hands were trapped and burned in the oven. Remote control airplanes were recalled because the batteries were catching fire or exploding and causing hearing loss.Toys were also recalled for breaking and causing lacerations.

For more of the Ten Toy Recall Myths please click on the following http://www.smarttoychoice.com/dsp/dsp_toy_recall_myths.php

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Over 1 Million Toy Cell Phones Recalled Today Due To Choking Hazard

Over 1 million Little Tikes Chit N Chat Toy Cell Phones were recalled today due to a choking hazard. The CPSC and Little Tikes have received three reports of the toy breaking, including one report of a child beginning to choke on a small part. The affected phones were sold at department, juvenile product and drug stores nationwide from June 2006 to March 2008.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Big Day for Lead Paint Recall in Children’s Products

Today the CPSC issued seven new recalls on children’s toys and other products due to excessive lead. The recalls included the following:

Pirates of the Caribbean Sleeping Bag (sold at Disney Stores)
Tinker Bell Wand (sold at Disney Stores)
Basic Beat Shaker Guiro Instrument (sold by West Music)
Sure Grip Yellow Paint Brush (sold by Early Childhood Resource Distributors and to Teacher Supply Stores)
Floppy Friends Horse Toys
The biggest lead paint recall today included over two million magnet sets by United Scientific sold to schools for use in science classes. These magnets have been sold to schools for the past 12 years (sales started in October 1996). An additioin 87,000 magnets by American Scientific were recalled for lead and these were sold to schools since 2006.

Friday, May 16, 2008

FDA Not Ready To Ban BPA in Children's Products

According to an article in Reuters by Will Dunham, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it sees no reason to tell consumers to stop using products such as baby bottles made with a controversial chemical found in many plastic items.

BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic, a clear shatter-resistant material in products ranging from baby and water bottles to sports safety equipment and medical devices.
It also is used to make durable epoxy resins used as the coating in most food and beverage cans and in dental fillings.

People can consume BPA when it leaches out of plastic into liquid such as baby formula, water or food inside a container.
The FDA is looking at a draft report issued in April by the National Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. government's National Institutes of Health, that expressed some concern that BPA had the potential to cause neural and behavioral problems in fetuses, infants and children.
Relying on animal studies, the National Toxicology Program said there was evidence suggesting links between BPA exposure and early puberty and prostate and breast cancer in people, becoming the first federal agency to embrace such concerns.

Norris Alderson, the FDA's associate commissioner for science, said although the regulatory agency is reviewing safety concerns about the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, "a large body of available evidence" shows that products such as liquid or food containers made with it are safe.
Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said the FDA was "looking the other way" on safety concerns about BPA. "Parents always err on the side of caution when it comes to their kids' health. We think that the law should do the same," he added.
Schumer, Kerry and other Democratic senators in April introduced a bill to ban BPA in children's products. It also would direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study health effects of BPA in children and adults.

Some retailers, including Wal-Mart and Toys R Us, are planning to stop selling certain items made with BPA.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Toys Fail Toxic Chemical Test

Yesterday at the Women’s Health Expo in Albany, NY, representatives from the Just Green Partnership used a hand-held device called an Innov-X XRF analyzer to test for heavy metals and chemicals in the Take Your Child’s Toys To Work Day Event. According to an article by JULIE A. VARUGHESE, in the Times Union Newspaper, one little girls necklace tested high for lead.

The partnership wants to see three bills signed into law to oversee toxic chemicals in toys.

One bill requires substitutes for phthalates, which have been associated with disruption of hormonal and endocrine systems and are often found in soft plastic toys, and bisphenol A, often found in plastic baby bottles and other containers.

Another bill restricts the use of flame retardants, linked to neurological problems.

A third would regulate the distribution of items that contain lead, which causes an array of neurological problems including lowered IQ and learning disabilities.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

PlayWorld Systems Recalls Swing Sets Sold to Day Cares

Yesterday, the CPSC issued a recall on Playworld swing sets sold to day cares and early childhood learning centers in the past year. The swing set recall was due to a faulty part (clevis bearing) which can detach and cause the swing to fall. Over 17,000 swing sets are part of this recall.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How Are Toy Makers Doing Financially After Last Year’s Record Toy Recalls?

Mattel reported a loss for the fist quarter of 2008 due to lower sales of Fisher-Price, legal expenses and higher costs. They are expecting to increase toy prices this year to raise profits.

Hasbro reported a strong first quarter profit on sales of the Transformers , Littlest Pet Shop and Playskool toys.

RC2 plagued with recalls last year on its Thomas and Friends toys reported a lower than expected quarterly profit.

Jakks Pacific maker of Fly Wheels which were recalled last year also reported lower profits due to litigation and product testing costs.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Avon Joins the List of Companies Involved in Child Product Recalls

Today, the CPSC issued two recalls on products for children that Avon sold. The 2006 & 2007 infant Santa outfits sold in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were recalled due to a choking hazard on the pom-poms and snaps. A Flower Table and Basketball Table sold by Avon in the US were also recalled today due to lead paint.

Last month over 100,000 Cozy Warming Polar Bears sold by Avon were recalled due to a fire hazard when heating the warming pouch.

See rotating pictures on this blog for the latest child product recalls.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

8 Companies Agree to Settlement on Drawstring Issue in Children's Clothing

According to the CPSC, the companies listed below have agreed to pay $320,000 in total to settle allegations that they knowingly sold defective products. In 1996, the CPSC issued guidelines on the use of drawstrings in children’s hooded shirts and jackets. The drawstrings are believed to present a risk of strangulation to children.

In 2008 alone, there have already been 8 recalls for girls and boys hooded sweatshirts sold at places such as Marshalls and Nordstroms.

Life is Good Inc.
True Religion Apparel Inc.
The Cayre Group Ltd.
DollarDays International, LLC
Kohl's Department Stores Inc.
Seena International Inc.
Neiman Marcus Group Inc
Gildan Activewear SRL

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Interesting Recall Timing on Beco Baby Butterfly Infant Carriers

The CPSC issued a recall today (April 22, 2008) for the Beco Baby Butterfly Infant Carriers. This is the second infant carrier recalled this year (the Ellaroo Infant Sling was recalled on 3/11/2008). As I was entering the recall into the SmartToyChoice.com database, I researched the recall at the http://www.becobabycarrier.com/ site and on their blog, Beco Baby announced the recall on March 7, 2008. Over a month passed from the time the manufacturer announced the recall on a blog to when the CPSC issued a national recall.

Apparently the buckles on the carrier shoulder straps can unexpectedly release tension causing the strap to slip through - which means the baby could fall out. Beco Baby has received 8 reports of the strap slipping though the shoulder buckles but no injuries have been reported.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rising Toy Prices and the Cost to Parents of Recalled Toys

Toy makers expect toy prices to increase by 5 to 10% by the end of the year. This price increase is apparently not due to all of the toy recalls last year but due to higher wages in China, higher costs of raw materials (plastic has risen by 25% over the past two years due to higher gas prices), and a weaker dollar compared to the Chinese yuan which makes it more expensive to buy Chinese goods.

While we as parents are going to have to pay more for our children’s toys, I would like to point out a statistic that SmartToyChoice follows which is the estimated amount of money parents spend on toys that are recalled. For the 30 toy recalls so far in 2008, the retail value of the toys recalled is $74 million ($611 million in 2007).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Recent Toy Recall Lawsuits

On April 11th, a lawsuit was filed against the CBS Corp, Planet Toy and retailers alleging there was asbestos in CSI Kits that were being sold.

Reebok International agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty to settle allegations that they sold charm bracelets with excessive levels of lead which resulted in the death of a little girl.

Monday, April 14, 2008

1992 Toy Recall Statistics

I read in a blog recently, that in 1992 less than 40% of toys purchased in the US were from China. So I wondered if back in 1992 less than 40% of the recalled toys were from China. Here are my findings for 1992

21 Toy Recalls
1 Made in the USA
1 Made in Singapore
2 Made in Taiwan
3 Made in Hong Kong
5 Recalls didn't list where the toy was made
9 Made in China (42%)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lead Toys Made for the Mouth of Older Children Recalled

Most parents with children older than pre-school age have ignored many of the lead paint recalls thinking that their children don’t put the toys in their mouth. Unfortunately today, we see why all parents need to pay attention to the recalls. Almost 30,000 “Hillbilly Teeth” sold over the past three years were recalled for excessive lead paint in the teeth. (These are toys obviously put in the child’s mouth.) And Michaels today recalled over 300,000 seasonal writing pens for excessive lead. I don’t know about you but as a child, pre-teen, teenager and sometimes even as an adult, when I am writing I will stop and put the pen in my mouth.


See scrolling pictures on the right side of this blog to see more toy recalls and other child product recalls.

Toys"R"Us Offers All Natural Toys

Toys”R”Us joins the going “Green” trend. Today I received a monthly coupon mailer from Toys”R”Us that includes the introduction of their new ALL NATURAL TOYS. The natural toys include a Formula Car, Racing Car, and Shape Sorter made from natural, replenishable materials that are chemical free, forest friendly, and eco-friendly.

They are expected to add natural cotton plush animals and Organic Cotton dolls which are colored using natural or water based dyes and made with unprocessed, unbleached and untreated cotton and are expected to be available by Earth Day, April 22nd.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Washington State Children's Safe Product Act

The Washington State Governor recently passed into law the Children’s Safe Product Act which will go into effect in July 2009. This new law requires toy makers to reduce the use of lead to 90 parts per million (a number much lower than the current federal amount of 600). In addition, the law limits the use of lead, cadmium, phthalates and other materials which could affect a variety of children’s products including crib mobiles, toys, and car seats. Under the new law, manufacturers will be required to notify the state regulators if their items contain chemicals of “high concern.” The list of “high concern” chemicals will be generated by the Department of Ecology. It has been estimated that up to 20% of the toys sold in the state could be banned under the new law.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Global Product Safety Standard Meeting in June

The EU and United States are meeting in June to consider a global set of product safety standards. Manufacturers such as Hasbro and Mattel are said to be in favor of a global standard according to an article in Reuters by Darren Ennis. Nancy Nord of the CPSC suggested in this article that one of the reasons for all of the toy recalls is that companies were manufacturing to different safety standards for different countries and that a global standard would help manufacturers to produce more consistent products.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Buyer Beware - Deceptive New "Made In USA" Label

As I was doing research last night for SmartToyChoice.com, I came across a new "Made in the USA" label for a car seat that I thought was incredibly deceptive.
After all the toy recalls China last year, this new label gives the warm and fuzzy feeling that you are buying a nice, safe USA made product - BUT do you notice the small print below the large USA flag? WITH GLOBAL COMPONENTS
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with products made in whole or in part outside the US but the super large US flag and the really small print for the global components seems quite deceptive to me!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Evenflo Discovery Car Seat Recall

This week the Evenflo Discovery Car Seats were recalled. As we prepare to expand the SmartToyChoice.com service to include other children’s products and car seats, I am reminded of why we created the personalized recall notification service. While entering the past car seat recalls (from 2007 on) most of them state that the manufacturer will notify registered customers of the recall or send them the repair kit.

But will all owners of the car seats BE notified?

One recall for the Viva car seat by miaModa was recalled because the car seats were sold without a registration card – so did the owners of these car seats still register them?

Or what about my scenario – I bought a Peg Perego infant car seat in 2002, just before my daughter was born and I promptly mailed in my registration. In 2004, we moved. In 2005, I used the car seat again for my son when he was born. Then in 2006, just before we moved again, I gave the car seat to my friend who was pregnant. Before her daughter was born she took the car seat to the fire station to have them help install it. They asked her if she had installed the repair kit from the recall. She called me to ask if I had – I had NO idea the car seat had ever been recalled. Did my registration get lost in the mail? Did I not receive the recall notification because the time expired on the mail forwarding?

SmartToyChoice.com allows you to see exactly what you have registered. If you move, you can easily update your address for all of your SmartToyChoice.com registered products. If your email address changes but you do not update your SmartToyChoice.com account, we will be notified when we send the quarterly email and will follow up with a post card to your home address in your account (before the time limit expires on the mail forwarding!)

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Words of a Five Year Old on Toy Recalls

As I prepared the SmartToyChoice.com Quarterly Newsletter today, my five year old daughter oohed and aahed over the pictures of toys I included in the newsletter. She would say - "Oh Mom - the Cinderalla Car looks so neat - and I would respond - "sorry, that has been recalled." Then she would say - "Oh Mom - look at that neat coaster" (referring to the Magtastik Wonder Coaster) and I would respond - "unfortunately that toy has been recalled too." After the third toy she asked about and I responded that it was part of a toy recall, my daughter exclaimed - "DON'T THEY MAKE ANY TOYS THAT AREN'T RECALLED!"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Plan Toys - The Green Company Recalls Toy Penguin

Yesterday, Plan Toys - Green Toy -Green Company, recalled their Toy Penguin due to a report of the head detaching and sharp connectors posing a laceration hazard. This recall from a "Green" Company supports the following SmartToyChoice "Ten Toy Recall Myths":

Only "toxic" toys are recalled
Not true. While lead paint in toys made the headlines in 2007, they accounted for only 41 of the 81 recalls, which was for just 4 million of the over 27 million toys recalled. The other 23 million toys recalled were due to magnets small enough to be swallowed, toys causing lacerations, severed fingers, burns, and loss of hearing.

Visit http://www.smarttoychoice.com/dsp/dsp_toy_recall_myths.php to read more toy recall myths that are untrue.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Products Recalled from Hobby Lobby

Easter Egg Toys sold by Hobby Lobby are the second recall issued this week after the massive toy recall of over 2 million MEGA Brand Magnetic toys by the Consumer Products Safety Commission on March 17th. The Camouflage Eggs and Spinning Egg Top Toys, sold at Hobby Lobby stores since the beginning of 2008 were recalled today due to excessive lead. Almost 200,000 Battery Operated Puzzle Vehicle Sets sold through QVC since September 2002 were recalled on Thursday for excessive lead.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Update on Mega Brands Recall of MagnaMan and Magnetix Jr and Magtastik Toys

When I was updating the SmartToyChoice.com toy recall database for the Mega Brands Recall of MagnaMan, Magnetix Jr, and Magtastik toys, I noted that there was a discrepancy between the toys listed on the CPSC recall announcement and the Mega Brands recall website.

I contacted the manufacturer regarding the difference in toys listed and their reply was that Mega Brands recalled the entire line of toys so their site had the complete list of toys recalled.

If you are not already using the SmartToyChoice.com personalized toy recall notification service (as our database reflects the complete list of recalled toys), please note the following toys were left off the CPSC toy recall announcement - MagnaMan Drazor, MagnaMan Izor, and MagnaMan Captain One Eyed Jack - Mag Jr. Promo Pak, and Magnimals Bumblebee, Chick, Bunny, and Lamb.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Over 2 Million Toys Recalled Today

Over 2 million MEGA Brand Magnetic toys were recalled by the Consumer Products Safety Commission on March 17th. Various Magnetix Jr., Magtastik and MagnaMan Magnetic toys sold between 2005 and 2007 are recalled by the federal government due to magnets. The magnetic toys are recalled because there have been reports of the magnets detaching from the toys.

I URGE parents to use caution. I have heard too many times - my child doesn't put things in their mouth - but does their little sister? their little cousin who comes over to play? or in my case - my two year old goes on all of my five year old's play dates - and he still puts things in his mouth. So please keep in mind even if your child doesn't put things in their mouth, a child who is in your house might.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Senate Passes CPSC Reform Act

As a result of the record number of toy recalls in 2007, the Senate passed the CPSC Reform Act (S.2663 at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c110:1:./temp/~c1105ZnORY:e1284:) with a vote of 79-13 on Thursday. Included in the bill are the following:

Add 500 people to the CPSC work staff (currently 400) by 2013

Hire 50 people to be at US ports of entry or to inspect overseas production facilities

Increase the CPSC budget by $450 million over the next four years

Create a public database of reported deaths, injuries and illness and require the reports to be added to the database within 15 days but the CPSC has the discretion to remove reports if they are found to be incorrect. The White House is concerned this “will result in a significant increase in wasteful litigation” and place “significant, unnecessary burdens” on the agency.

Create testing of toys by third parties

Require manufacturers to create a tracking label on the product or package

Reduce the level of lead to .03 percent in one year and further to .01 percent in three years. (Note surfaces not exposed to children under normal use are not subject to these lead limits).

Prohibit the sale of recalled products (currently the recalls are “voluntary”)

Increase civil penalties to a maximum of $20 million and criminal penalties of up to five years

Give state attorney generals the power to pursue product safety cases – this concerns the White House because they believe it could lead to a confusing safety standards

The Senate bill will still have to be reconciled with the earlier House bill before becoming law.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Albany NY Kidz Expo Results

We met many concerned parents on Saturday at the Albany Kidz Expo. Some were surprised to see the Cranium Cadoo game or the Baby Einstein Crib Toy on the list of recalled toys for 2008. Several parents realized that toy recalls are not just for the preschoolers when they saw their children's remote controlled helicopter on the current year recall list as well. We accomplished our number one mission on Saturday - to let parents know - toy recalls are still an issue.

Winners of the drawing for the free year subscription to SmartToyChoice were notified by email today.

Thank you for visiting our booth.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Albany NY Kidz Expo

We are busy preparing for the Albany Kidz Expo on Saturday, March 1st from 10-5 at the Empire State Convention Center. SmartToyChoice will have a booth on the main floor near the bounce house. Please stop by to learn how you can manage the safety of your children's toys through our personalized toy recall notification service. There will be a drawing for a free one year subscription to SmartToyChoice.com.

We look forwarded to talking with you.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Safety chief urges toymakers to get the lead out

In an article by Karey Wutkowski at http://www.reuters.com/article/Regulation08/idUSN0725654020080219, the top U.S. product safety regulator on Tuesday, February 19, 2008, urged manufacturers to remove lead from children's products before congressional action would essentially ban lead from toys. Congress is expected to vote to increase funding for the CPSC and cut the amount of allowable lead content in toys. Nancy Nord of the CPSC suggested that the time for testing lead tolerances should be over.

While excessive levels of lead dominated the news before Christmas and accounted for 42 of the 81 recalls issued by the CPSC in 2007, less than 20% of the 27 million toys recalled last year were due to lead. Magnets, burn issues, and lacerations accounted for the other 21 million toys. Again in 2008, lead accounts for less than 20% of the 300,000 toys recalled so far.

As a mother, I applaud the efforts to remove lead from my children's toys (I thought that happened a long time ago), though Congress does still need to increase funding for the CPSC to help oversee all the other manufacturing problems.

Friday, January 25, 2008

No Future Change to Made in China

Over 75% of the toys sold in the United States are made in China. As of January 25,2008, there have been seven recalls of over 200,000 toys. All of the toys have been made in China or Taiwan. Will there be a change in where the toys are made?

In a recent article in the International Herald Tribune by Donald Greenlees titled Toy Industry Tries to Regain Parents' Trust, the author summarizes the articles stating that it

"is unlikely to see any fundamental change in where toys are made.Despite the product scares of 2007 and the prospect of higher costs, toy companies say there is no realistic alternative to China.Philip Shoptaugh, who owns the Oakland, California-based Shoptaugh Games, an educational toy maker, said China's toy industry infrastructure and labor rates still give it a big edge over alternatives "I think there are probably a lot of shoppers who made an effort over Christmas to read the box and say 'it's made in China, I won't buy made in China this year,"' he said."But having said that, are you going to pay twice as much for a doll because it's not made in China? The thing is you cannot make these products in the United States and have them be competitive on the shelf."

After hearing of all the toy recalls last year and the problem products (like antifreeze in toothpaste) from China, I decided to ban all toys from China in our house. I looked at all the toys in our house and found ONE made in Germany - all the rest - China. So I started looking for alternatives - and for some toys there are definitely alternatives. But while we may be willing to pay more for toys not made in China - in some toy categories there just aren't good alternatives.

In starting SmartToyChoice.com, I read a very interesting book called A Year Without "Made in China": One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy by Sara Bongiorni (which you can purchase for $16 through the Amazon link on our website.) A story about a family's struggle in going an entire year without buying products made in China. It was amazing to me to realize what all comes from China.

While it doesn't look like there will be a change in where the majority of toys are made, in the end, I decided I couldn't completely ban China. I definitely look at labels (especially toothpaste) and when I can buy out of China, I definitely do. As a result, I feel like I am at least now making an informed decision when I buy toys.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Home Lead Test Kits

Home Lead Test Kits
The other day I saw one of those home lead test kits in the store. With the second recall of 2008 issued this week for excessive lead in children’s toys, I decided to do some research to see if these home kits were worthwhile.

“Useful . . . though limited” is what Consumer Reports said about three of the five testers.

The CPSC study of home lead tests resulted in the following caution : “Consumers should exercise caution when using these test kits to evaluate consumer products for potential lead exposures. False results can make it difficult or impossible for consumers to determine the proper course of action to take. In fact, CPSC staff has tested a number of other samples that had been identified by consumers and others based on their use of inexpensive test kits as having high lead levels. To date, none of these items has actually had high lead levels based on CPSC lab analysis. This is another indication of the poor reliability of the kits for this purpose. Testing by a qualified laboratory and trained personnel is the only way to accurately assess the potential risk posed by a consumer product that may contain lead.”

From a pediatricsblog: “Even if they were reliable, testing toys yourself isn't very practical. Most toys include many pieces or are at least painted with several different colors and you would likely have to test each to be complete. For example, with the Barbie Dream Puppy House that was recalled this year, lead paint was only found on the puppy that was included with the toy. With lead test kits typically costing about $1 a test, it will quickly get expensive to test even just your child's most played with toys. "

Doesn’t look like the home lead test kits are the answer to safety in our children’s toys.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Alicia's News Interview on Fox 19

Alicia's interview with reporter Jill Eichhorn from Fox 19 news aired on December 29th. You can watch the two minute interview by visiting our home page - www.SmartToyChoice.com (link on the bottom right) to hear Alicia and Jill's comments about our personalized toy recall notification service.