While stronger regulatory oversight last year lead to a record drop in dangerous children’s product recalls, far too many recalled products tend to remain in use, advocates said Monday.
“This past year was the lowest rate of children’s product recalls that we’ve seen in probably 10 to 15 years, so we’re very happy about that. But there are still dangers that are out there,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said at a news conference.
“The best thing parents and caregivers can do is to make sure they’re getting information about these recalls so that they can make sure those items are not in their homes and not in schools and day care centers, so that kids are not going to end up in danger,” she said.
Last year saw 68 children’s product recalls — representing over 5.5 million products — the lowest number since 2001 when the nonprofit Kids In Danger began tracking such recalls.
However, a review of children’s product recalls made in 2014 found only 1 percent of all such products purchased by a consumer ended up being fixed or returned to the seller, according to a new report issued by the Illinois-based group. Of each recalled product, an average of 8 percent of units were being taken out of use.
“Despite better records at the Consumer Product Safety Commission and additional efforts by manufacturers, we still are seeing a dangerous gap between announcing a recall and actually repairing or removing the product from use,” said KID Executive Director Nancy Cowles.
The group’s report, “A KID Report Card: Children’s Product Recalls in 2015,” also found a quarter of all products recalled in 2014 were children’s products, with clothing and nursery products accounting for more than half of those.
An average of 12 consumer reports were filed before a recall was issued.
“For parents who might be hearing this and think ‘What can I do to keep my own children safe?’ we urge parents to check SaferProducts.gov to see if another consumer has had an incident with a product that you might be using with your children,” said Cowles. “As our report shows, it sometimes takes too many incidents and a number of deaths before products are recalled. But you can stop using that product before it’s recalled and potentially save a child’s life.”
A bright side, according to the report, was manufacturers’ use of social media to retrieve recalled products has increased greatly, with 44 percent of companies with a Facebook page posting about their recalls.