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Fisher-Price Recalls Toy Cars

Toymaker Fisher-Price has agreed to recall and repair up to 10 million battery-powered children's cars and trucks because they pose a serious fire risk.

CBS "This Morning" Consumer Correspondent Herb Weisbaum reports that there is a danger that these cars could catch fire while a child is on them, even when they are not being used.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall later Thursday morning.

"This is the largest recall of a product sold in a store," said Michelle Fleming, a commission public affairs officer. "It is a very serious problem."

The toys in question are Power Wheels cars and trucks made by Fisher-Price. They sell for as much as $300 each, and they use rechargeable batteries. They go as fast as 5 mph.

Fisher-Price has agreed to recall and fix millions of the vehicles sold since 1984, including the Barbie Jeep, Big Jake, and Extreme Machine.

If you have one of the toys, you can call this toll-free number - 1-800-977-7800 - to arrange for repairs. You are advised to remove the battery until repairs can be made.

The safety commission said it has received more than 700 reports of electrical problems, in which components failed and overheated, causing smoke or melting parts. There have been 150 reported fires.

The Washington Post reported Monday that these fires have caused minor burns to at least nine children. There have been no reports of serious injuries.

The newspaper says there have been 150 reports of fires, including fires started while cars are parked in garages, playrooms, and closets, resulting in $300,000 in property damage to 22 homes and garages.

The CPSC also said it has received more than 70 complaints of the toys failing to stop after a child lifts his or her foot from the pedal. Six children have suffered minor injuries as a result of their cars failing to stop and ramming fences or parked cars.

More than 400 repair shops around the country are ready to fix the defective toys.

The problem is "a very serious defect that needs to be tended to right away," the Post quoted CPSC chairman Ann Brown. "This is a fire waiting to happen in your home."

Fisher's parent company, Mattel, called the voluntary measure preventive.

"There certainly have been some incidents related to the product but that number of incidents has been extremely rare," Sean Fitzgerald, Mattel's vice president of communications, told the Post.

The CPSC, which first learned about the safety hazards in late 1996, estimates the voluntary recall will cost Fisher-Price at least $30 million, the Post reported.

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