By City Guide News Desk

RECALLS: Rattles, board books; plus three new safety standards


Here are the latest recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). (For complete reports, go to Parents are urged to take all products away from children immediately and to discard or return to the manufacturers according to the following: RECALLS Sassy rattles: Sassy Inc. is recalling to replace 455,000 soft rattles. The sewn-on, spherical shaped fabric eyes on the rattles can detach, posing a choking hazard to small children. Sassy has received 129 such reports, including some incidents in which eyes were found in children's mouths. One of these children started to choke on a detached eye and a parent used the Heimlich maneuver to remove it. The rattles involved in the recall include: -"Lily Pad Rattle": a green frog with four plastic legs and a multi-colored belly. -"Bitty Kitty Rattle": a clear, plastic tube filled with beads connects a purple, cat-like face to a purple ball. Three plastic pieces encircle the plastic tube and make a rattle sound when shaken. -"This Little Piggy Rattle": a pink piglike face is connected to a green ball by a yellow and pink arm and a blue arm. Beads inside the green ball make a rattle sound when shaken. -"Goo Goo Goldfish": a multi-colored fish with pink lips, an orange fin, and a clear, plastic tube that connects the head to the tail. Beads inside the tube make a rattle sound when shaken. -"Smoochie Poochie Rattle": a blue, puppylike face with green spotted ears is connected to a blue and green spotted body. Five plastic pieces encircle the body and make a rattle sound when shaken. -"Crinkly Crown Dragon Rattle": a green dragon with a scaled, curved tail. Three blue ridges protrude from the dragon's back. A caretag attached to the head of each rattle reads in part, "Sassy" and "1999 Made in China". Rattles with the same appearance but with embroidered eyes are not involved in this recall. Toy and mass merchandise stores nationwide sold these rattles from August 1999 to mid-October 2001 for about $5. Parents should immediately take these toys away from young children and return them to Sassy to receive a free replacement toy: (800) 781-1080. You can also visit the firm's website at: To see a picture of the recalled products, link to the following: "Bunny" board books: Candlewick Press is recalling 78,670 "Bunny My Honey" children's board books printed in Italy, because the plastic lamination may peel off, posing a choking hazard for young children. There have been no reports of injury to this date. Only board books with "Printed in Italy" on the back cover are included in this recall. (Books printed in Mexico are not included). The books sold from December 2000 to September 2001 for about $7. The recalled books should be discarded; parents can visit to receive a free replacement book, or contact Candlewick Press at (800) 883-0009. To see a picture of the recalled product. link to: JA-RU is recalling 43,000 "Blast Balls" toys. When struck together, the toys create a cracking sound similar to that of a cap gun. The directions instruct consumers to strike one ball against the other in the palm of hand to create the cracking sound. But when this is done, sparks can ignite, posing a burn hazard. There have been six reports of injuries, including minor burns to hands and fingers. The recalled toys are packaged as "Super Bang...Blast Balls". The balls are sold two in a pack, in a variety of colors. Convenience and novelty stores nationwide sold them from June-October 2001, for about $2. Consumers can contact JA-RU for a refund, at (800) 231- 3470. To see a picture of the recalled product, link: NEW CONSUMER STANDARDS Automatic security gates: A new standard will hopefully prevent children from becoming trapped in automatic security gates - the sliding or swinging gates typically found at the entrances of residences, apartment buildings, condominiums, parking lots and garages, and commercial establishments. The new standard requires a sensing device that will reverse the gate if it encounters an obstruction when opening or closing; and a secondary sensing mechanism, such as an electric eye or an edge sensor that will reverse the gate if an obstruction is detected. Additional safety measures are also now required; these include: •Installation of controls where the user has full view of the gate operation. •Elimination of pinch points. • Posting of warning signs on each side of the gate. The CPSC has estimated that in the 10-year period 1990 to 2000, nearly 25,000 people have been involved in automatic gate-related injuries, including 9,000 children under 15 years old. Child-resistant packaging: New child-resistant packaging will now be a requirement - even on many common household products like baby oils and sunscreens, thanks to the CPSC. The Commission is focusing on products which contain hydrocarbons that can poison children; the hope is that the new requirement will help prevent injuries and deaths to children under 5 who swallow and aspirate these kinds of products. The new packaging must be in use within 12 months. Covered by the new packaging regulation are some baby oils; sunscreens; nail enamel dryers; hair oils; bath, body and massage oils; makeup removers; some automotive chemicals (gasoline additives, fuel injection cleaners, carburetor cleaners); cleaning solvents (wood oil cleaners, metal cleaners, spot removers, adhesive removers); some water repellents containing mineral spirits used for decks, shoes, and sports equipment; general-use household oil; and gun-cleaning solvents containing kerosene. If these products contain 10 percent or more hydrocarbons by weight and have a low viscosity (i.e., are "watery"), they will have to be in child-resistant packaging. (Thicker products are less likely to be aspirated). "We know that child-resistant packaging saves lives," said outgoing CPSC chairman Ann Brown. "But since the packaging is child-resistant, not child-proof, parents also need to keep baby oil and other potentially poisonous substances locked up out of reach of young children." The CPSC is aware of five fatalities of children under 5 years old from 1993 to date involving aspiration of hydrocarbon products. CPSC data for 1997 through 1999 revealed an estimated 6,400 emergency room visits involving children under 5 years of age who ingested household chemical products that frequently contain hydrocarbons that can pose an aspiration hazard. In addition, data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers for 1993 through 1999 revealed 11,115 potential aspiration exposures to cosmetic and household products containing hydrocarbons. Mattress safety: The CPSC announced it has begun developing a safety standard to reduce the severity of mattress fires and to make mattresses less flammable. The new standard will address fires ignited by sources such as candles, matches and lighters. The goal is to minimize death and burn injuries by limiting the size and spread of the fire. (There already is a federal standard requiring mattresses to be resistant to cigarette ignition). Mattress and bedding fires are one of the leading causes of injuries and were second only to upholstered furniture in the number of fire-related deaths in 1998. In 1998, mattresses or bedding items were first to ignite in about 18,100 residential fires that resulted in 390 deaths and 2,160 hospital emergency room injuries. "Tragically, young children are often the victims of mattress fires," said outgoing CPSC chairman Ann Brown. "From 1994 through 1998, over three-quarters of the deaths relating to mattress and bedding fires ignited from such sources as candles, lighters and matches were to children under the age of 15." As part of its ongoing work on mattress flammability, the commission considered petitions from the Children's Coalition for Fire-Safe Mattresses; these involved open-flame tests (granted) and labeling requirements (being considered). How to report a problem: To report a dangerous product or product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772. CPSC's website can also be accessed at Consumers can report product hazards to