Recall NationBy Shadi Houshyar
October 12, 2010
A wave of new recalls has caught our attention. Recently, Fisher Price recalled 10 million children’s products sold in the U.S. according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This massive recall included fourteen models of the Fisher-Price Trikes and Tough Trikes toddler tricycles, seven models of infant activity centers, nearly 950,000 Fisher-Price highchairs, and the Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies Stand ‘n Play Rampway. Although Fisher Price agreed to provide consumers with free repair kits or replacements for these toys, we’re left to wonder why they didn’t pay greater attention to making sure the toys were safe in the first place. As CPSC notes, all companies should do better and pay more attention to building safe products.
Beyond the recent Fisher Price recalls, the CPSC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also issued a warning on infant sleep positioners, urging parents to stop using them altogether. CPSC and the FDA warned that over the past 13 years, they have received 12 reports of infants who died when they suffocated in sleep positioners or became trapped and suffocated between a sleep positioner and the side of a crib or bassinet. Unfortunately, manufacturers of sleep positioners have claimed that the product helps keep infants on their backs and reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This claim has not been scientifically substantiated. Sleep positioners also typically claim to aid in food digestion to ease colic or the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease and prevent flat head syndrome. According to the FDA, any benefit of sleep positioners is outweighed by the considerable risks posed by the product. Given the frightening data on the risk of suffocation posed by sleep positioners, parents are also left to question why they were kept on the market for so long.
And finally, an FDA deputy commissioner testified before Congress in September that the agency did not act quickly enough to stop Johnson & Johnson from carrying out a "phantom" recall of 43 over-the-counter medicines made for infants and children last year. In May, a division of Johnson & Johnson recalled over-the-counter medicines including liquid versions of Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl -- after the FDA identified deficiencies at the company's manufacturing facility. It now appears that Johnson & Johnson told the FDA in April 2009 that it planned to repurchase defective Motrin (which didn’t dissolve correctly), but it wasn't until July that the FDA said the company needed to do a proper public recall. This leaves us to question why the FDA didn’t act more quickly to protect consumers from a potentially defective product.
With the flurry of recent recalls I begin wonder, are we living in a “recall nation”? Why are manufacturers not doing a better job of making sure products are safe? And why are our regulatory agencies not doing a better job of protecting us when defective products come on the market, especially when it comes to our children?
For more information on the recent recalls: