something you may not know about toy recalls

30 11 2007

You’ve probably heard in the news about all the toy recalls due to unsafe amounts of lead.  This is in addition to the normal recalls of toys that are later deemed unsafe for small children (for things like small choking parts or magnets that can fall out).  A parent should be careful what they give their kids, of course.

But did you know that stores are not required by law to pull recalled toys off the shelves?  That seems inconceivable to me, but I heard it on the news recently.  A law should be passed to change that.  It’s difficult for parents to keep up with all the recalled toys, and stores should have some responsibility to remove dangerous products from their shelves.

Also, a company that recalls a toy and fixes the problem in the next release is not required to mark the packaging any different.  So you could have defective products next to newly-arrived fixed products, and the consumer has no way of knowing the difference.  You’d think the company would want to mark the toy as fixed and to make sure the defective one was removed, because of potential lawsuits.  But, as with most things in America, it’s all about the money, and I suppose they deem the risk acceptable versus the cost of recalls and the danger presented to children.

One company, Mega Brands, has said asking a retailer to pull a recalled version from its shelves is too big a job, that “it would be a massive job to track it all down”.  Sorry, but I don’t buy that.  I know for a fact that there’s software that tracks products all through the assembly and shipping process, and it could even be automated so that when a recall is issued, a list of where all defective products were shipped to can be compiled.  The notification could even be automated, via e-mail, printed letters, website updates, and even phone calls.  There is no excuse, not with all the technology we have today.  Their systems might have to be updated with these features, but it can and should be done.  Hopefully it won’t require a major disaster for these changes to take place…




One response

4 12 2007
Justin Jordan

This is pretty ridiculous. I don’t have kids, but I remember awhile back when all the cat food was being recalled, and it’s pretty scary. Or how about when the spinach was recalled? I actually got food poisoning from it!

I heard this about the lead on the radio the other day, and it confused me. Hasn’t lead been known to be a poison to humans for quite some time now? What is it doing anywhere near our children’s toys?

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