What is a recall, anyway?

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What is a Recall, Anyway?

We talk about them a lot at Kids In Danger, but we don’t often take time to talk about what exactly it means when a recall happens. Often people think that recalled products are removed from the market completely. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In order to make sure you’re protected from a recalled product, because many do remain on store shelves, in homes, and in childcare facilities, it’s helpful to understand the recall process from start to finish.

Step 1: The product is found to be unsafe. This may be self-reported by the manufacturer, or the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) might begin an investigation of a product independently. Sometimes the investigation is started following consumer complaints and reported injuries, sometimes no complaints/ injuries are filed before the recall begins. Consumers can report incidents with products and read what other users have said on SaferProducts.gov.

Step 2: The public is informed about the recall. Because recalls are issued throughout the week but rarely make national news, many are never heard about by consumers. To keep up with children’s products recalls, sign up for KID’s email alerts and sign up for recall alerts through the CPSC website. Visit KidsInDanger.org on your smartphone to check recalls on the go so you don’t unintentionally purchase a recalled product secondhand for your child. For nursery products such as cribs, strollers or high-chairs, fill out registration cards to be automatically alerted by manufacturers if there is a recall or other safety concern with your product.

Step 3: Consumers have three options if they own a recalled product. Manufacturers can offer to refund your money, replace your product with a safe one, or repair the safety hazard on your product.

The key takeaway here is that recalls deserve our attention and require immediate action. When a product is designated unsafe, it means it is unsafe. Don’t try to fix it on your own. Don’t ignore the recall warning. Get rid of it, get and assembly the repair or turn it in. Consumers acting on recalls helps keep manufacturers accountable for making safe products.

For more information about children’s product safety, visit KID’s website.

See April’s product recall list here.

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