Give That Back: Safety Recalls

Product recall grunge rubber stamp on white backgroundSometimes it seems like we hear about a different product recall every day. But, as a new parent, you now have an important reason to pay close attention to safety recalls that relate to baby products. On average, more than 100 toys and other children’s products are recalled every year. 

What is a recall?

A product will be recalled when it’s been shown to cause a safety concern. This usually happens when consumers file a complaint with the company who made the product, saying that it has injured their child in some way. The manufacturer is legally required to report this potential safety problem to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which then makes the decision on a recall.

What kinds of hazards cause recalls?

Typical problems that lead to recalls are choking or swallowing hazards:

  • Small parts
  • Powerful magnets
  • Packaging
  • Stuffing

Other potentially dangerous situations include:

  • Electrical issues that could cause burns or a fire
  • Toy boxes or other furniture that could trap a child with no airflow
  • High levels of toxins like lead, phthalates or BPA
  • Problems or defects in child safety seats

How do I know if my product has been recalled?

There are several ways you can check for product recalls:

  • The CPSC website lists all consumer product recalls since 1973, and it also has a nice search function you can use to look up certain products you’re concerned about.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation has a searchable website to look for child car seat recalls.
  • To find out about all recalls in the U.S., including food, medications, cosmetics, environmental products, vehicles and consumer products, check out the all-inclusive This one-stop shop is a collaborative effort by numerous federal agencies, including:

- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

- Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

- U.S. Coast Guard


What do I do if my product is recalled?

If you find that you own a product that’s been recalled, there will be instructions on the website that lists the recall. Sometimes the product is to be taken out of use immediately, and you might need to return it to the manufacturer for a refund. In other cases, you may be sent a replacement part or a new version of the product, or you could be asked to send in the product for repairs.