Freezer Packs, High Chairs and Bike Trailers Top January’s Recall List

Guest post by:

Jennifer Toney, CEO at WeMakeItSafer.com

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced 25 recalls in January, including one expansion of a previously recalled bicycle. While that is slightly more than the 23 recalls we saw in December, it is still lower than we typically see this time of year.  Over the past five years, the CPSC has issued an average of 33 recalls in January.  It is still too early to predict a decline in recalls for 2012, but we will be watching closely.

Of the 25 products recalled by the CPSC in January, eight, or 32%, were children’s products.  Three of those products topped 100,000 units recalled, including Lunch Kits, High Chairs and Bicycle Trailers.

California Innovations (a Canadian company) recalled soft-pack lunch boxes [http://wemakeitsafer.com/Ci-Sport-Expandable-Insulated-Lunch-Box-with-Freezer-Gel-Pack-Recall-730784-365361%5D and insulated food carriers [http://wemakeitsafer.com/Travelin-Chef-Expandable-Thermal-Food-Carrier-Recall-242836-671370%5D because the freezer packs that were included with the containers are filled with toxic gel. The gel freezer packs are either blue or clear plastic with blue gel. The word “Cryofreeze” is printed on the outside.

While no children were reported to have been injured, the company received two separate reports of dogs chewing the packs, causing injury to one and death to the other. Consumers are urged to dispose of the packs in accordance with federal, state and/or local regulations.

IKEA recalled 169,000 ANTILOP high chairs  [http://wemakeitsafer.com/IKEA-ANTILOP-High-Chairs-Recall-250628-927806%5D in the US and Canada after receiving eight reports of the buckles coming undone unexpectedly, including three incidents that resulted in falls from the chair. This is the highest number of injuries reported with a January recall. The highchair had been on the market for three years from August 2006 to January 2010, however the announcement did not include any information regarding when the incident reports were received.

Chariot Carriers, a division of Thule, recalled bicycle trailers [http://wemakeitsafer.com/Chariot-Bicycle-Trailers- and-Bicycle-Trailer-Conversion-Kits-Recall-289381-202137] and conversion kits because the hitch can detach from the bicycle.  This is another case where the product had not been sold for more than a year.  The last time the company sold the item new was in August 2010, so be especially diligent to check your trailer if you have owned it for a while or purchased it secondhand.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also issued a children’s product recall in January. The recall, for Britax Chaperone infant car seats, was the first child restraint recalled by the agency in nearly a year.  The Chaperone carriers were recalled due to a problem with the harness adjuster that causes the straps to not work properly. Earlier models [http://wemakeitsafer.com/Chaperone-Infant-car-seats-Recall-368195-531761%5Dof Chaperone infant car seat were recalled in 2010 to replace a faulty chest clip.

Other child-related recalls in January included toys, furniture and helmets. You can view the complete list of recent children’s product recalls here: http://wemakeitsafer.com/Childrens-All-Kid-Baby-Recalls

The remaining, non-children’s product recalls span several categories from flashlights and lamps to golf carts and snowmobiles. Of note, there were also four recalls of adult bicycles [http://wemakeitsafer.com/Bicycles-Bikes-Accessories-Recalls%5D in January, so if you are getting ready to dust off the bike as the weather warms, be sure to check these recalls first.

You can search for the products you own and browse the latest recalls at http://WeMakeItSafer.com

About the Author

Jennifer Toney is CEO at WeMakeItSafer.com, a company that builds web applications to help consumers and retailers check and monitor products for safety recalls. After finding more than her fair share of recalled products in her own home, Jennifer founded WeMakeItSafer to help families and store owners identify dangerous products more easily. You can follow Jennifer on twitter at @Jennifer_Toney and WeMakeItSafer on facebook at http://facebook.com/WeMakeItSafer

TOYplay Tips: Letter Puzzles by Melissa & Doug

The Melissa & Doug Letter Puzzles set is a great educational toy for preschoolers or Kindergartners to teach letter recognition and

Self-Correcting Alphabet Letter Puzzles

letter sounds. Normally, when you think of puzzles, you think of a quiet activity. And, don’t get me wrong, these puzzles are great for a quiet, independent activity. But, on a cold and snowy afternoon, I discovered a fun way to use these puzzles to get my kids moving indoors and learning at the same time.

I divided the puzzle pieces into groups of four (the last two groups were 3 each).  My 3-year-old is still learning to recognize some of the letters, so it was important to do small groups at a time (and in sequence) so that she didn’t become overwhelmed.

We started with A, B, C, D. I separated the letter piece from the picture piece, but still had them side-by-side. We went down the line and I asked her to tell me the letter when I pointed. If she didn’t know it, I told her and asked her to repeat it. Then I asked her to say the name of each picture (note: the word is printed under the picture). We then went over the letter sounds – I asked her to repeat each sound after me as I pointed to the letter.

After we were done identifying the letters, pictures/words, and sounds, the fun and active part began! I took the 4 letter pieces and laid them on the floor about 10 feet from the picture pieces. I explained that, when I made the letter sound, she had to pick up the picture that started with that sound and run to find the matching letter piece. When she found the letter piece, she was supposed to shout the letter and fit the pieces together, then run back for the next “letter sound” hint. We did that, one-by-one, until all 4 sets were matched.She loved that it felt like a race (even though I wasn’t timing her) and she did a great job remembering the letter sounds and matching the correct picture piece to the letter piece.

We then started with another group of four (E, F, G, H) and continued until we reached the end of the alphabet. Well, almost the end – she became tired when we reached X, Y, Z, which was much further than I thought we’d get.

My 5-year-old was there too and, although she knew her letters and sounds, she had fun giving hints to my 3-year-old and helping with the activities. It also reinforced what she’s been learning in school and the words printed under the pictures served as a great word recognition activity for her.

Developmental areas: Letter recognition, letter sounds, early reading skills, motor development.

Recommended ages: 3-5 years

Play time: 30-45 minutes

Extension activities (suggested by Melissa & Doug on the back of the storage box):

Matching game, sorting activity, letter, sounds and word recognition activity, color recognition, memory game, grab bag game, pick the picture, and story time.

Tested and review written by:

Shannon McAfee (Founder/Owner of TOYconomy), 3 and 5-year-old daughters