Fisher Price Recalls Toys, Trikes, High Chairs
Nearly 11 million Fisher Price products were recalled today after being deemed dangerous by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an independent government agency. Among the implicated products: 7 million tricycles, 1 million high chairs, and more than 100,000 plastic cars. The trikes were yanked due to 10 reports of serious injury, including genital bleeding, among children who struck a protruding plastic ignition key. The high chairs were recalled following reports of children (some of whom needed stitches) falling on or against the pegs on the rear legs. On the toy front, more than 100,000 plastic cars were recalled because their small wheels could unexpectedly detach, presenting a choking hazard. The CPSC warned consumers to stop using the products immediately. Parents can view a complete recall list at www.service.mattel.com.
This is not the first time the safety of children's products has been questioned: Children's jewelry was supposed to get safer after a federal ban on the use of toxic lead in charms and jewelry went into effect last year. But it's not illegal to make children's products out of cadmium, despite the fact that it's clearly dangerous, and cadmium has shown up in inexpensive children's jewelry, writes U.S. News contributor Nancy Shute.
Cadmium can cause cancer and kidney problems but has rarely been associated with children's health issues because most poisonings happen in men who work in smelting ore or recycling batteries, Shute writes. "Hopefully, it's not going to become a health issue in pediatrics," says John Rosen, a lead expert at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. But it looks as though he's going to have to add it to the list of potential problems, at least for now. His clinic staff shows parents a photo album of lead-contaminated jewelry, Rosen says. "We tell parents to stay out of dollar stores who sell those types of cheap trinkets."
Here's advice from the pros on keeping cadmium, and lead, out of your child's life: Don't let children use or be given cheap metal costume jewelry. "Take the jewelry away," Inez Tenenbaum, the president of the CPSC, said in a parent guide on the dangers of heavy metals in children's jewelry. [Read more: Cadmium in Kids' Jewelry: 3 Ways to Stay Safe]
When popular products are recalled, it's a reminder that danger can be lurking at home. Here's how to keep your kids safe.
First, don't buy toys with rare Earth magnets, Shute writes. These popular toys with super-powerful magnets have caused death and injury by damaging the children's intestines after the tiny magnets were swallowed. Although millions of these toys have been recalled, toy manufacturers don't seem to have figured out how to make toys that will keep the magnets safely enclosed. Not worth the risk, according to Shute.
Also consider shunning metal jewelry for kids. Time and again, children have been poisoned when they chew or swallow jewelry containing excessive amounts of toxic lead. A California investigation a few years ago found that 18 percent of children's jewelry sold at big retailers violated the state's strict lead standard. Plastic is a safer bet.
Be suspicious of brightly painted wooden and plastic toys. Multiple recalls have shown that kids are not always protected from toys with toxic lead paint. Either buy toys you're absolutely sure are lead free, or avoid those with paint. [Read more: 5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe at Home]
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