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 database, I researched the recall at the 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, 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 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? allows you to see exactly what you have registered. If you move, you can easily update your address for all of your registered products. If your email address changes but you do not update your 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!)