Recently, Kids in Danger’s founder, Linda Ginzel, and Executive Director, Nancy Cowles, were featured in an ABC 20/20 news special entitled Recall Roulette. In this piece of investigative journalism, 20/20 reporters examined the lack of oversight on children’s product safety and the limited steps being taken by many online sellers to protect consumers from purchasing recalled items. The report compared using children’s products to a roulette game, given the minimal effort made at protecting consumers from dangerous products.
In this feature, journalists found that recalled products, like the dangerous Bumbo seat that KID has previously warned about, were easily and often sold amongst users of Craigslist. When local ABC affiliates approached these online sellers, none were aware the product had been recalled. Consumer Product Safety Commission chairman, Elliot Kaye, stated in the interview that a good recall only gets about 20% of products off the market. Some sellers like eBay and Amazon, Kaye stated, have made great efforts at protecting their users from recalled products. Other sellers, like Craigslist, refuse. The CPSC pulled 9,000 recalled items from online sellers last year alone.
- Just because a product is for sale does not mean it is safe. Check product recalls on cpsc.gov or sign up for email alerts from Kids in Danger to stay informed.
- Manufacturers are not required to make any particular amount of effort at notifying product users about recalls. It is all voluntary, leaving consumers uninformed and vulnerable.
- Some online sellers are better than others at protecting their users.
In the 20/20 special, Linda and Nancy spoke to the necessity of enforcing policies on product manufacturers to make recalls as effective as possible. “It’s their responsibility. It’s their dangerous product that they put into the marketplace, and they should not rest until they get them all back,” emphasized Ms. Cowles. All consumers should be concerned about this lack of oversight and the ways it may impact their families or others.
Grandparents can play an important role in ensuring that the products their grandchildren use are safe and have not been recalled. If you are interested in getting involved in this important work, consider joining the KID Action Team and being an advocate for children’s safety. To protect yourself and your family, register your grandchildren’s products so you will be notified by manufacturers of recalls. You can also stay informed of recalled products and report postings of recalled items on online sellers.