Annual Alert: Beware Unsafe Toys

Harry Smith from home on Early Show 091409; may have H1N1 CBS

The government is urging consumers who got an early start on their holiday shopping to make sure the items they bought haven't been recalled for safety reasons.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is releasing its annual top 10 list of children's product safety recalls to coincide with the start of the holiday shopping season.

"They should be off store shelves," CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton said. But "it may very well be that people still have these at home, so we kind of use Christmas as a reminder."

Most of the products on the list are toys that were recalled in 2003, but there also are five brands of playpens that can collapse.

"Travel cribs that we've had recalled over the years that children have strangled in," Stratton told CBS News Correspondent John Hartge "We've had 15 deaths in travel cribs."

The CPSC has a new Web site with the latest information on all government recalls. Consumers can log on to www.Recalls.gov to learn about recalls of consumer goods, automobiles, boats, drugs, cosmetics and environmental products.

Not all toy hazards may be on the recalls list, warns the Public Interest Research Group. Parents should use common sense, says PIRG's Allison Cassidy, and look out for "choking hazards posed by small parts and balloons, loud toys that can cause hearing damage."

The CPSC's list of top recalled children's toys and products includes:
  • 300,000 Magic Start Crawl 'n Stand toys by Playskool. The toy is supposed to help crawling babies pull themselves up and stand, but can tip over during use. There have been 26 reports of babies suffering injuries.

  • 1.3 million cans of Spit Smatter spray foam by JAKKS Pacific Inc. of Malibu, Calif. The aerosol cans can forcefully break apart, potentially causing serious injury.

  • 67,000 Little People Animal Sounds Farm toys distributed by Fisher-Price of East Aurora, N.Y., because two small metal screws that hold the stall doors in place can come off, posing a choking hazard to young children.

  • 1.2 million Cosco Arriva and Turnabout Infant Car Seats/Carriers distributed by Dorel Juvenile Group Inc. Handle locks can break or unexpectedly release from the carrying position, causing the seat to unlatch or flip forward. Nine children have been injured.

  • 85,000 scooters and mini-bikes recalled by Fisher-Price because the motor control circuits can malfunction, causing the machines to continue running after the power or throttle button is released, leading to possible injuries.
Stratton reminds parents to make sure their kids aren't still using already recalled items that may still be on store shelves — for example side walk chalk.

"Some of those types of products have been found to contain lead and been imported from China," he said.

Consumers can get a full list of the recalled products by calling 800-638-2772 or visiting the CPSC Web site.
  • Lloyd Vries

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