Graco Children’s Products of Elverson, Pa., has been fined $4 million for failing to report defects in 16 of its products that can injure children.
The fine is the largest civil penalty levied by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The commission recently recalled 1.2 million toddler beds Graco sold between 1994 and 2001. Children can get trapped between the slats in the guard rails. The commission has received 77 reports of children trapped in the slats. The incidents results in 13 broken arms and legs, one broken foot and 54 other injuries, including bruised, scratched and swollen limbs.
The beds were sold under the names “Cozy Toddler Bed,” “Glow-in-the-Dark Toddler Bed” and “Classic Toddler Bed.”
To determine whether your toddler is at risk, check the label on the guard rail or leg for the following model numbers: 8801, 8801WR, 8821, 8824, 8828, 8833, 30066, 34434 or 11030. Also included on the label is a serial number and the manufacturer’s address.
If you have one of the recalled beds, immediately remove the guard rails and call the company at (800) 837-4404 to receive a free retrofit kit. The kits, which will be available in six to eight weeks, include mesh coverings to attach to the guard rails and footboard.
“People are asking ‘Why did it take so long?’ says Scott Wolfson, spokesman for the commission. He blames Graco. “The incidents were building up because the company was not reporting [them].”
Once commission obtained the information from Graco, Wolfson says, the top priority was to issue the recalls, then to turn to the legal violations. “Kids are being hurt by dangerous products,” he says.
Since 1997, Graco has recalled seven of its products made between 1991 and 2003, including Century’s “Assura” Infant Car Seat/Carrier, Century Stroller (five models), Graco High Chair, Graco Carrier/Swing, Graco Infant Seat (three models), Graco Travel Lite Infant Swing and the recent toddler beds. The three models of the infant seat were responsible for the deaths of six children and 209 additional injuries.
The following is a sampling of the products recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission from Feb. 15 to March 14. For more information, call (800) 638-2772 or visit www.cpsc.gov.
• Portable Cribs, Delta Enterprise. The slats can separate from the headboard and possibly strangle a child or allow the child to fall from the crib.
• Soother Baby Pacifiers, The Elegant Kids 2000. The pacifiers are banned under federal law because they failed safety tests. The nipple can detach from the base and possibly choke a child.
• Playtex Hip Hammock, Playtex Products. The shoulder strap may detach from the hammock, causing the baby to fall.
• Farm Teether Rattle, Tiffany and Co. A metal bar on the rattle can break off, releasing beads which may choke a child. Additionally, the break leaves sharp edges on the rattle which may cut a child.
• “Maui Ocean Center” Toddler Drinking Cups, Charles Products. The cup contains petroleum distillates, which can leak out and poison a child.
• Metal charms, Hirschberg Schutz & Co. The charms contain high levels of lead that can poison a child.
• Musical Flower Birthday Candleholder, Skylighter. The center of the candle has a high flame which can melt the surrounding plastic and overheat the battery pack, which may explode.
• Kolpin Powersports 50cc and 90cc Youth All Terrain Vehicles, Amstrong Industry Corp. Nuts and bolts connecting the steering system to the vehicle may come loose causing the rider to fall.
• ProBlend blenders, Black and Decker. The blades can break off, posing a choking hazard.
• Infant and Toddler Squall Parkas, Sport Squalls, Squall Snow Suits and Squall Bibs, Lands’ End. The rubber zipper pull can break off and possibly choke a child.
• Arizona Boys’ Zip-Up Cardigan Sweater, J.C. Penney. The zipper pull can detach from the cardigan and may choke a child.
• Bernat “Fur Out” yarn, Spin Rite LP. When used as the sole yarn in clothing, the yarn is flammable.
• TDive Sticks, Dollar General. Children can fall or land on the sticks in shallow water.
• “Toy Tunes” Electronic Musical Toys, Dollar Tree Stores. The ball on the end of the drum stick may break off and possibly choke a child.
• Stuffed Yarn Bunny, Ocean Desert Sales. The eyes and buttons can detach from the bunny and possibly choke a child.
• Battery-Powered Flying Saucer Toys, QSP. The flying saucer can overheat while charging and possibly burn a child. Ashley Ernst