For the second time in three years, the world’s largest toy maker has had to issue a massive recall for some products over safety concerns. Fisher-Price, a subsidiary of Mattel Inc., said last week that more than 11 million children’s toys and accessories were being recalled. The list includes high chairs and toy cars, along with seven million tricycles equipped with a protruding plastic “ignition key” that can cause “serious injury, including genital bleeding” when sat upon improperly, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
In 2007, Mattel recalled millions of toys with paint containing elevated levels of lead (for which it was later fined US$2.3 million by the CPSC), or small magnets that could be swallowed. Yet the latest recall may prove to be less serious, especially given the company’s careful and quick response. “They’re doing this as a precautionary measure,” says Niraj Dawar, a marketing communications expert at the University of Western Ontario. Many of the toys are no longer in circulation (the tricycles were sold as early as 1997) and Fisher Price says they can still be used with “simple fixes.” “The recall is a notice to consumers to be careful,” adds Dawar, “and shouldn’t have much of an impact on Fisher-Price.”