What do parents need to watch out for when they buy Christmas presents this year?
Just when we thought we’ve seen the end of the Mattel toy recall, the world’s largest toy maker on Wednesday announced yet another massive recall involving 800,000 Barbie accessories, Fischer Price train locomotives and bongo drums. Again, the reason for this recall, the third large one for Mattel just this summer, is the presence of unacceptably high quantities of lead in the paint used to brighten these toys.
Early in August, the company recalled 1.5 million toys featuring Elmo and other popular characters. Later the same month, “Sarge” toy cars from the hit Disney movie “Cars” as well as 9 million other toys containing tiny magnets were recalled. The total number of toys recalled by Mattel is now a whopping 19 million. The latest recall is being announced jointly by the toy company as well as the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Consumer watchdog Web site Consumeraffairs.com published an article earlier this week about a study conducted by a national nonprofit called Kids in Danger which showed that injuries among children more than doubled in the last five years compared to the preceding 10 years.
Despite these recent recalls child safety experts believe that come Christmas, the market could still be flooded with these lead-tainted toys. Safety advocates also point out that the CPSC, which should be vigorously inspecting these products, has only 15 inspectors for the entire nation. What’s more, the federal agency is toothless. It’s not even able to fine companies that withhold information about recalled products. Mattel has been accused of doing this at least twice, according to the Consumeraffairs.com article.
Here are some tips for parents from Allen Korn, director of nonprofit Safe Kids USA on how they can protect their children when such hazardous items flood he market:
• Sign up for the CPSC’s recall alerts
• Check past recalls • If any toys in a home have been recalled due to lead, you should consider taking your children to a pediatrician to be checked since lead poisoning symptoms are often not immediately noticeable • If a product comes with a recall registration card, fill it out so the manufacturer can contact you directly in the case of a recall • For smaller, less expensive toys, reconsider just throwing them away. Instead, get a refund or a replacement to test whether the recall works and also to hold the manufacturer responsible
There is also a lot of information about the effects of lead contamination and product recalls in a special report by Kids in Danger. Many parents around the nation are also getting ready to join in class action lawsuits against Mattel to force the toy maker pay for their children’s medical screening. If Mattel were the responsible, ethical company they claim to be, they should have already set up such a fund. Why haven’t they done that? What’s stopping them and why won’t they divulge all the facts and details behind the recall? What do they have to hide? The courts may have to give us the answers to these very important questions.
If you have questions about the toy recall or wish to examine your legal rights and options, call Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation.