Consumer Product Safety ‘Recall Round-Up’ Starts Today

For immediate release: April 17, 2001

Contact: Stephanie Courcy
Vermont Department of Health
802-651-1978

BURLINGTON -- Despite recall notices and public warnings, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has found that many products with the potential to seriously injure or kill are still being used. In an effort to rid consumer’s homes of hazardous products, CPSC today launched the fifth national Recall Round-Up to get unsafe products out of people’s homes.

CPSC has enlisted the help of the Vermont Department of Health to help publicize the safety campaign.

“While you are spring cleaning, check your attic, basement, garage, barn or other storage areas for old products that could be hazardous,” said Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Jan Carney. “The Consumer Product Safety Commission can get dangerous products off the shelves of retail stores, but the real challenge is to get them out of families’ homes.”

Spring also marks the season when people begin holding garage sales to get rid of their unused items. Today the Vermont Department of Health is releasing a Child Product Safety Checklist for consumers, thrift store owners and holders of garage sales (below). In a recent national study of thrift stores conducted by CPSC, an estimated 69 percent of the stores were selling at least one type of unsafe consumer product; many of these were children’s products.

Child Product Safety Checklist

BABY GATES: The older accordion-style gates do not meet federal safety standards and can cause strangulation. They should not be used.

BABY WALKERS: More children are injured with baby walkers than any other nursery product. Older baby walkers do not have safety features to prevent falls down stairs. The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a ban on the manufacture and sale of baby walkers with wheels, and recommends throwing away all such baby walkers.

BEAN BAG CHAIRS: Do not buy bean bag chairs with zippers that can be opened. Young children can unzip bean bag chairs and choke or suffocate on the small pellets of foam filling.

CAR SEATS & BOOSTER SEATS: Car seats and booster seats should never be used if they have been in a crash. If this fact is unknown, do not use the seat. Never use seats that are older than six years, have broken or missing parts or labels, or have been recalled. All seats must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards and should have the owner’s manual attached. To determine if a seat is safe to use, call the Vermont Governor’s Highway Safety Program Tot Seat Hot Line: 1-888-868-7328.

CLOTHING: Be sure there are no drawstrings around the hood and neck of children’s outerwear. Drawstrings can strangle young children if caught on playground and other equipment. Drawstrings at the waist should extend no more than three inches. Children’s sleepwear should meet federal safety standards for flammability.

CRIBS: Consider reusing only cribs that meet current national safety standards and are in good condition. Look for a certification seal and check that crib slats are no more than 2-3/8 inches apart. The crib mattress should fit snugly. There should be no sharp edges, loose parts, corner post extensions or protrusions more than 1/16 of an inch.

HAIR DRYERS: Only use hair dryers with large rectangular-shaped safety plugs. These plugs prevent electrocution by shutting off the current if the hair dryer comes into contact with water.

HALOGEN FLOOR LAMPS: To prevent fires and burns, make sure that halogen torchiere floor lamps have glass or wire guards over the bulb shield, and the bulb is 300 watts or less. Wire guards can be obtained free by calling the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

HELMETS: As of March 1999, all bicycle helmets manufactured in or imported to the United States must comply with a new federal standard. These helmets are identified by a sticker stating that the helmet meets the CPSC safety standard. Helmets manufactured before March 1999 that meet ASTM, Snell, or ANSI voluntary standards will also provide sufficient protection.

People who skateboard or do trick or freestyle skating should look for helmets sold specifically for these sports because these helmets provide more head coverage, especially in the back. Also, look for the ASTM, Snell, or ANSI voluntary standards on ski and equestrian helmets.

Any helmet that is cracked, dented, broken in any way, has missing parts or has been in a crash is not safe to use.

PLAYPENS: Many playpens have been recalled due to protruding hardware or top rails that do not properly lock. These cause a strangulation or entrapment risk to children. Be sure the mesh has a small weave (less than a 1/4-inch opening) and is free of tears or holes.

SCOOTERS: As of December 2000, almost 100,000 scooters have been recalled. Call the CPSC hotline or check the CPSC web site to find out which models are defective. Protective gear, including helmets and knee pads, should always be worn.

STROLLERS: Strollers should always have a seat belt and crotch strap securely attached to the frame. They should have brakes that work well, wheels that are tightly fixed, and a wide base to prevent tipping.

TOYS: Toys that are broken or in disrepair can be unsafe. Toys with sharp edges or points, and dolls or stuffed toys with loose eyes or noses are potential hazards. Toys with small parts are not safe for infants, toddlers or small children who still mouth objects. Look for age recommendations that may still be attached to toys. Balloons can choke and kill a child.

TRAMPOLINES: The safety of a used trampoline is always in question after it has been left outside in extreme temperatures, and has been used or abused by former owners.The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that trampolines never be used in homes, routine physical education classes or in outdoor playgrounds.

This Consumer Product Safety Checklist is available on the Department of Health’s Website at www.state.vt.us/health. The checklist was developed by the Department of Health, Vermont SafeKids (in partnership with Fletcher Allen Health Care) and Health Unlimited (a shared service of Mt. Ascutney and Springfield Hospitals).

FOR MORE INFORMATION about hazardous products, contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s Hotline at 800-638-2772, or CPSC’s teletypewriter at 800-638-8270, or visit CPSC’s web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html.

For information on CPSC’s fax-on-demand service, call the above numbers. To order a press release through fax-on-demand, call 301-504-0051 from the handset of your fax machine and enter the release number. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC’s web site at www.cpsc.gov.