Article at a Glance
Could your child be playing with a potentially dangerous toy? Product recalls are meant to keep dangerous products off the shelves, but parents are often unaware of what has been recalled.
There are many websites that offer a lot of information on recalls and product safety, which means that it is easy to find information. But the sheer volume of information can make it hard to stay on top of it. Not only does the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issue over 400 product recalls a year, but there are also other product warnings from other organizations.
Before you pull your hair out in frustration, here are some tips on how to keep your family safe without spending hours a day trolling websites.
The good news is that the federal government has done a lot of the work for you. You can find alerts about defective and unsafe products stemming from six different federal agencies at recalls.gov. It sure beats having to check six different websites.
But even then it can still be a bit overwhelming. If you are looking for only child-related information, try safekids.org. This site focuses on safety recalls, news, and alerts that pertain to children. Not only do they publish recall information from the CPSC, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they also provide information about other child safety news and issues.
Most of the agencies allow you to sign up for email notices. The advantage of this is that you don’t have to remember to check a website. Many also let you customize it so that you only receive notices on certain kinds of products that pertain to you.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) This includes recalls on child restraints
You can also sign up for recall information at Safekids.org.
If emails aren’t your thing, the CPSC has developed an app that allows you to look up recall information on products. So the next time you are wondering about a product at the store, a garage sale, or your child’s preschool you can just look it up.
Unfortunately the app is only for Android users. But if you have an iPhone, Recalls is a similar free app that you can use.
You can also find out about recent recalls on some of your favorite social media sites.
FDA: Twitter / Facebook
USDA: Twitter / Facebook / Google+
NHTSA: Twitter / Facebook
Safekids.org: Twitter / Facebook / Google+
Although most of us just toss away those product registration cards when we buy something, they are actually a great way to get recall information about the products you own. This is particularly important with products like cribs, highchairs, strollers, baby carriers, and car seats.
Be careful when you buy used toys or baby gear. Older items are more likely to have been recalled. When you buy something secondhand or get a hand-me-down, make sure to check the recall information to see if it is safe. For example, it is now illegal to resell drop side cribs and they have been banned by the CPSC, citing numerous deaths and injuries.
Parents should also think again about using antique cribs, bassinets, and highchairs. While they might look great and have a lot of sentimental value, they have not been built to today’s safety standards and many contain lead in the finish.
If a product breaks, fails, or is shown to be unsafe, be sure to report it. Many products are recalled because of reports from homes just like yours. By letting the CPSC know, you can help protect others.