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Maureen May
Maureen May
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Do Safety Recalls Really Protect Kids? New Report Says Probably Not

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A new report from Kids in Danger (KID), a Chicago-based children’s safety advocacy group, has found that only 10 percent of children’s products that are recalled for safety reasons are actually returned or fixed. This leaves a large number of items that could potentially harm children still in use, according to a CNBC report.

While manufacturers still have control of a recalled product in their warehouses or at a retail outlet, more products are successfully corrected, replaced, or returned, but once a consumer buys the product, the success rate drops dramatically. The return rate of recalled items is likely so low because although the announcements are made, people don’t hear them or fail to respond. Consumers also frequently fail to fill out the registration card for children’s products, which would potentially give companies a quick and direct way to notify them of a recall.

The companies that make children’s products and those who regulate them typically wait a long time before a product is recalled – on the average it takes 14 reports of design flaws and two confirmed injuries to initiate a recall, according to the KID report.

Social media is still underutilized as a method for spreading the word about safety recalls. According to the report, there were 63 recalls in 2013 where the manufacturer had a Facebook page, but only nine instances when the manufacturer actually mentioned their product recall on Facebook.

But some companies are more proactive in attempting to reach consumers via social media channels. One such business is Step2, a children’s toy company that has a Facebook page dedicated solely to the company’s safety recalls, including a link to it on the company’s homepage.

During 2013, there were 294 recalls issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and 39 percent of those involved children’s products, an 18 percent increase from the year before. Children’s clothing accounted for 29 percent of the children’s product recalls in 2013, with drawstrings and flammability standard violations accounting for most of the defects. Cribs, strollers, high chairs, and pacifiers made up 23 percent of all children’s product recalls.