It can be alarming when the products you use for your baby are recalled. However, recalled baby products are not usually cause for panic. In fact, sometimes the problem is easily fixed by removing a dangerous part or ordering a repair kit. Here's what to do when your baby products or toys are recalled.
What Should You Do After a Baby Product Recall?
First, take a look at the CPSC.gov website and find the page for the product recall.
New recalls are posted right on the CPSC homepage. Find out about the hazard, or reason for recall. Double check your model numbers and styles to be sure that it is actually your baby product that is being recalled. Sometimes only specific date codes within a model number may be recalled.
If your item is not the exact model or wasn't manufactured within the dates specified in the recall notice, you don't need to worry any further. You can contact the manufacturer if you have concerns, or you've noticed the same problem mentioned in the recall, but the remedy, or fix for the recall issue, will likely only apply to those products named in the notice.
If you find that your item is included in the recall, you may need to put the item out of reach of your child or stop using it while you determine what the dangers are. Most recalls where the product poses an immediate risk to the child will have a statement about the risk and will alert you if you need to keep the product away from your child right away.
If there's a choking or strangulation hazard with a toy or clothing item, or a part that could break and cause injury on a stroller or car seat, expect to see a warning about not using the product while you wait for a repair kit or replacement item. Sometimes you may be able to remove a piece in order to continue using the item while you wait on the remedy.
If the product has multiple modes or uses, you may be able to use one mode but not another while you await the fix. An example is an infant car seat with a recall on the carry handle. The car seat may still be safe to use in the car, but not to carry outside of the car. Again, the recall notice and manufacturer's website will give you specific instructions on safely using or not using that recalled product.
Once you've determined that your baby product is indeed being recalled, and you know about the hazard, take a look at what the remedy is for the recall. Some potential remedies for recalled baby products are:
- returning the product to the manufacturer for replacement
- Returning the product to the store where purchased for exchange or refund
- returning a piece of the product to the manufacturer for replacement
- ordering a free repair kit
- throwing the product away and receiving a refund or replacement
- removing the dangerous piece to remove the hazard
- replacing warning labels or instruction books
The remedy is determined by the manufacturer with input from CPSC. The federal agency decides whether the remedy is fair to consumers and sufficient to address the risk to your baby or toddler.
Nearly all recalls will require you to contact the manufacturer in some way. Usually, this is via a toll-free phone number, email, or a website form. Occasionally, retail stores may be involved in the recall process, so you may be able to simply return the recalled baby products to a store for a refund or exchange. If it is possible to fix the product without returning it, such as removing a drawstring at the neck of a sweatshirt, you may be instructed to simply remove the hazard on your own without contacting the manufacturer. Make sure you note any contact or return requirements before you take action. If you throw away your product that should be returned to the manufacturer or a store, you likely will not receive a replacement product or refund.
Registering Baby Products
Recalls present a good argument for registering your baby products immediately with the enclosed forms when you buy them.
If you've registered your products, the manufacturer can contact you directly when a recall is issued. If you threw away your registration cards, you can often register by calling the manufacturer with the model numbers and other pertinent product information. If you haven't registered your baby's car seat, you can find electronic registration forms for most manufacturers at SaferCar.gov. These registration cards are not supposed to be used for any purpose other than safety notifications, so don't worry that you'll receive junk mail due to product registration.
Should I Fix Recalled Baby Products On My Own?
Unless CPSC or the manufacturer instructs you to fix a recalled product or to install a repair kit, you should not attempt to fix it on your own. Do-it-yourself fixes may not hold for long, or they might introduce other hazards to your baby. CPSC has specifically warned against trying to fix broken or recalled cribs on your own. In fact, there are some infant deaths related to DIY crib repairs.