All too often, you hear about a product on the news that has been recalled by its manufacturer because it has been shown to be unsafe. It could be a problem with a particular model of car, a child’s toy or even food. Unfortunately, it is also quite easy to miss hearing about recalled items.
The first thing to do is just be aware of problems with items in your home. If you have a concern that something might be unsafe, check for a recall at the Consumer Products Safety Commission website. If there’s no recall, consider contacting the manufacturer to see if others have complained. It takes a lot of complaints to start a recall.
Fortunately, if a product has been recalled, the manufacturer should have a solution for you. They might send a replacement part for whatever is faulty, along with repair instructions, they might tell you to dispose of the item and send you something comparable, or they may tell you how to get it repaired.
If you aren’t satisfied with the manufacturer’s response, or if you feel there is a definite danger to the item, you can visit the Consumer Products Safety Commission to find the right place to report the potential problem. While they do not have authority over things such as cars, car seats or food, their site does tell you how to report problems with items they do not have the authority to deal with.
You might be surprised at some of the things around the house that can be dangerous. Many places still have window blinds with unsafe cords. The easiest to fix is probably the pull cord. If the pull cord goes in a loop, it may be a strangulation hazard. However, all you have to do to fix it is cut the cord and install a safety tassel. You can read about this at http://pfwbs.org/.
Keeping up with recalls can be a challenge, but there are solutions. The first is to send in the product registration card included with the product. You may not want to take the time for every item you buy, but for important items such as car seats, it is probably worth the peace of mind knowing that the manufacturer will have your contact information in case of a problem.
The other option is to get on email lists or check for RSS feeds. Either of these will let you keep up with new recalls. Obviously most recalls will have nothing to do with anything you own, but the occasional relevant item will make it worth your while. If you aren’t familiar with RSS feeds but have a My Yahoo or similar page, you probably only need to get the web address of the feed to place where you add new content to your page to make it work.
Nothing replaces an alert parent. If you think there might be a problem, don’t let anyone use the item in question until you are satisfied of its safety. Not every broken toy has a defect that will result in a recall, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to keep when you see parts getting ready to fall off. As a parent, it is vital that you use common sense.
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