A recent article in The Wall Street Journal made an important point: just because a product is recalled doesn't mean that it's not still being used by consumers. In fact, only about 15 to 30 percent of customers respond when a product recall is announced. In some cases, people never learn about the recall. In others, it may seem too difficult to return the affected product. Whatever the reason, this low response rate puts adults and children at risk for injuries. There are some guidelines you can follow, however, to avoid using recalled products that pose a threat to your safety.
1. Conduct an inventory of the products in your home, especially children's items, to see if they've been recalled. You can search the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) web site using keywords.
2. Investigate the recall history of second-hand products purchased online, at garage sales, and at thrift shops.
3. Check cribs and other products that your child frequently uses at relatives' homes and at childcare centers (if you can fit a soda can between the slats of a crib, the space is too wide).
4. Fill out the product registration cards that may be included in an item's packaging. The manufacturer will be able to more easily notify you in the event of a recall.
5. Never assume that products are safe just because they've functioned well in the past. Defective products, from toys to lawnmowers, can injure you years after they've been recalled.
6. Make sure to report all unsafe products to the CPSC through its web site. If possible, notify the retailer and manufacturer as well.
It may never be possible to eliminate all unsafe products from your home, but it is important that you make an effort to be as aware of their presence as possible. To keep yourself informed, you can check our law firm's website for the latest safety alerts and product recalls.