Here are the latest recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC). (For complete reports, go to http://www.cpsc.gov). Parents are
urged to take all products away from children immediately and to discard or
return to the manufacturers according to the following:
Snail push toys:
Babies "R" Us has recalled 900 snail push toys. The screw that secures the toy to its handle can detach, posing a choking hazard. No injuries or incidents have been reported.
The wooden toy has moveable parts painted purple, green, yellow, or orange. The wheels have three colored balls of yellow, green and red attached with string. The handle has a red ball on the end.
The attached yellow-and-blue tag reads "Imaginarium Baby". It was sold at Babies "R" Us stores from July-November 2003, for about $8. Consumers can return these push toys to Babies "R" Us for a full refund. For more information, call (800) 804-5419 Monday-Friday or go to
www.toysrusinc.com/productrecall. To view a picture of this product, go to www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtm104/04109.html.
Mattel has recalled 314,000 Batmobiles due to puncture or laceration hazards caused by the hard plastic rear tail wings. So far, 14 reports of injuries involving scrapes, scratches, lacerations and punctures have been received. Four injuries have required medical treatment.
The Batmobile is a 20-inch blue-and-gray plastic vehicle with a detachable motorcycle. The model number B4944 appears on the bottom of the toy. Mass merchant and toy stores sold the Batmobile nationwide from June 2003-February 2004, for about $27. Mattel is providing free repair kits containing two replacement wings without pointed ends that snap on to the toy. Instructions will be provided. Consumers can contact Mattel at (888) 271-9891 or go to www.service.mattel.com to order the replacement wings. To view a picture of this product, go to
Radio controlled toy trucks:
Nikko America has recalled 287,000 radio controlled toy trucks. A flaw in the circuit board can cause the trucks to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard. Five reports of overheating resulting in property damage by fire and smoke have been received, but no injuries.
The trucks are 1/10 scale models of approximately 18 inches of the Chevy Avalanche (model 100021A); the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (models 100022A and 100022B); the Hummer Wagon (model numbers 100023A and 100023B); and the Ford F150 (model numbers 100024A and 100024B). Model numbers can be found on the bodies of the trucks, along with the vehicle make and model names. Major toy and discount department stores sold these toy trucks nationwide from July 2003-February 2004, for about $60. For instructions on returning the product for a free circuit board replacement, call (866) 232-6013, between 9:30am-6:30pm Monday-Friday, or go to www.nikkoamerica.com/recall. To view a picture of this product, go to www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtm104/04117.html.
Ride-on toy trucks:
The death of an 18-month-old boy has prompted Tek Net Toys to recall 70,000 ride-on trucks for purposes of repair. The screw-and-nut assembly attaching the steering wheel can loosen, creating a choking and aspiration hazard. The fatal incident involved the inhalation of a detached screw. Five additional reports of loosened screw-and-nut assemblies have also been received.
The toys were sold under five model names: Butterfly Girl; Fire Rescue; Mermaid; Police Car; and Tonka Construction Crew. The toys can either be used to ride on, or as push-walker toys, with handles on the back of the seat rests. The dashboards contain buttons that produce sounds when activated.
The recalled vehicles have date codes running from 20021127 to 20030319. The codes are in the battery compartment located on the top panel next to the steering wheel. Wal-Mart, Toys "R" Us, Kmart, Meijer and Shopko sold these ride-on toys nationwide from December 2002-March 2004, for about $30. For more information and to receive free replacement parts, call (888) 661-0222 or go to www.teknektoys.com. To view a picture of this product, go to www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtm104/04119.html.
Kingfisher Publications has recalled 5,000 copies of “My Easter Basket Book”. A sponge "touch-and-feel" item inside the book can detach or lose small pieces, posing a choking hazard. One choking incident has been reported, but no injuries.
The book’s cardboard cover has the title printed in pink letters over an image of an Easter Basket. The words "First Holiday Books" and "Touch & Feel" also appear on the cover. The book contains photos of marshmallow candy, plush toys, lollipops and candy typically found in Easter baskets, along with touch-and-feel surfaces. Retailers nationwide sold "My Easter Basket Book" from February-March 2004, for about $8. For a refund and postage reimbursement, return the books to Kingfisher Publications PLC, Customer Service, 181 Ballardvale St., Wilmington MA, 01887. For more information, call (800) 289-4371 Monday-Friday or go to firstname.lastname@example.org. To view a picture of this product, go to www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtm104/04110.html.
Stanley Furniture has recalled 318 "Isabella" model cribs due to an incorrect screw supplied by the manufacturer. The screw, used to attach the movable gate, cannot be used for that purpose. Consumers who may have used a substitute screw will find that the screw cannot properly hold the gate in place, and will create a falling or entrapment hazard as a result. No injuries or incidents have been reported.
The white-painted wood cribs carry model numbers 326-94C1 and 326-94C2. The model number appears on the bar code label. Department and furniture stores nationwide sold the Isabella from November 2003-February 2004, for about $980. Consumers should contact the store where the crib was purchased to schedule a free, in-home crib inspection and repair. For more information, call (888) 839-6822 Monday-Friday, or go to www.youngamerica.com. To view a picture of this product, go to
Ethan Allen bunk beds:
Ethan Allen has recalled 2,000 "Ethan Allen Ryan" and "P.J." Bunk
Beds. A dislodged "j" hook can allow the guardrail to detach from the bunk bed, presenting a falling hazard. So far, 22 incidents have been received involving dislodged hooks, but no injuries.
The recalled beds carry item numbers 35-5659-4, 36-5659-3 and 36-5659-4. These item numbers can be found on the inside of the bottom bunk headboard or footboard. Ethan Allen stores nationwide sold the beds from June-December 2003, for $1,150-$1,350. The company has been directly notifying purchasers of the recall and is providing free repair kits.
Guardrails will be shipped to consumers on or about May 20, 2004. For more information, call (888) 339-9398 Monday-Friday, or go to www.ethanallen.com. Consumers can also email the firm at email@example.com. To view a picture of this product, go to
Air hockey tables:
Valley Dynamo has recalled 15,000 air hockey tables. The blower motor, located under the table, has an opening large enough for a child to fit their finger, posing a laceration hazard. One minor laceration has been reported.
The recall involves the "Arctic Flash", "Arctic Wind" and "Air Elegance" model air hockey tables. The "Arctic Flash", which measures 45 inches in width, 65 inches in height and 85 inches in length, has an overhead scoring display and black-light graphics. The "Arctic Wind" measures 45 inches in width and 31 inches in height. The names of each model are printed on the table's play field. The recalled models were sold since 1994 in sporting good and specialty stores nationwide for $1,000-$2,200. Consumers should contact Dynamo at (800) 304-2929, 9:30am-6pm Monday-Friday, for instructions on receiving a free repair kit. To view a picture of this product, go to www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtm104/04112.html.
Mongoose mountain bikes:
Pacific Cycle has recalled 14,000 Mongoose aluminum 20-inch-wheel D-XR AL mountain bikes. The rear shock absorber causes the aluminum, dual-suspension frame to flex severely, causing instability and possible breakage. Two reports of broken frames have been received, resulting in abrasions and bruises to riders.
The silver or red recalled bicycles carry a model number of "R1590WMET" which appears on the service sticker, located on the bottom bracket tube near the pedals. "Mongoose" and "D-XR AL" appear on the frame. Only aluminum frame Mongoose bikes are included in this recall. Bicycle stores and department stores nationwide sold the Mongoose from September 2003-March 1, 2004 for about $99. To receive a free replacement rear shock and instructions, call Pacific Cycle at (877) 564-2261, 9am-6pm Monday-Friday. To view a picture of this product, go to www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtm104/04113.html.
The death of a 19-month-old Pennsylvania girl has prompted the recall of 592,000 TV/VCR carts manufactured by the Sauder Woodworking Co. of Archbold, Ohio.
Sauder has received 13 reports of carts tipping and falling, including the fatal Pennsylvania incident that resulted in a fractured skull. Four additional incidents resulting in injuries to both children and adults have been received, including another skull fracture and several reports of bumps and bruises.
The carts were sold as kits to be assembled by consumers. They are identical in design and construction but not color, coming in light-colored oak and dark cherry finishes. Approximately 29.5 inches in width, 18 inches in depth and 27 inches in height, they are equipped with a top shelf intended to support up to a 27-inch television, a middle shelf intended to hold a VCR, and a lower storage area to hold VCR tapes. There are four removable casters on the bottom of the cart, which the manufacturer now advises removing to improve its stability. Model numbers of the recalled carts are 2655 and 2755; these numbers do not appear on the product itself, but on the accompanying instruction booklet.
Department, discount and home electronic stores sold these carts nationwide from January 1993-December 1999 for about $100. Consumers are advised to remove the television and all contents from their carts and contact Sauder at (888) 800-4590 for a free repair kit. For more information, go to www.sauder.com. To view a picture of this product, go to www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtm104/04113.html.
New warning for paintball guns:
Based on its investigation of two deaths caused by carbon dioxide (CO2) canisters flying off paintball guns, the CPSC is issuing a new warning advising users not to unscrew the brass or nickel-plated valve from the canister while removing the canister assembly from the gun.
In both of the deaths investigated by the CPSC — one involving a 15-year-old boy and the other a female bystander — the brass valve, unscrewed from the canister, turned the pressurized canister into a deadly projectile. The CPSC stipulates that the valve must stay secured to the canister and rotate with it, and recommends that modification to a paintball gun or its CO2 canister be done by a professional. The canister assembly should unscrew in three or four full turns, and no more. For more information, go to www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtm104/04105.html.
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
www.cpsc.gov. Consumers can report product hazards to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyday Green Choices
Gas prices soar — how to reduce them
By Elisa Wood
You can reduce your gasoline bill immediately — without buying a more fuel-efficient car. You can do it by making small changes in the way you drive and maintain your vehicle.
Reducing gasoline consumption not only spares the pocket book, but also the lungs. Vehicles cause 25-75 percent of the smog-producing pollution in the United States, according to federal statistics.
Start by leaving your temper at home. Aggressive driving, characterized by sudden starts and stops, can increase mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city, costing you an extra 49 cents per gallon at the pump, says the U.S. government’s website, www.fueleconomy.gov.
Consistent speeding also increases your gas cost. When you accelerate above 60 mph, your car’s fuel efficiency plummets. In fact, each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph can cost you an additional 10 cents per gallon.
And giving a little attention to auto maintenance will pay dividends at the gas pump. For example, by getting your car tuned regularly, replacing a faulty oxygen sensor, and staying within state emissions limits, you can improve gas mileage by as much as 40 percent and save 60 cents per gallon. Cut another 15 cents per gallon from your gas bill by changing air filters regularly. Proper tire pressure can save you 5 cents per gallon. And finally, www.fueleconomy.gov advises that you be aware of what grade motor oil your car’s manufacturer recommends.
Using the right motor oil can improve your gas mileage one to two percent.
If you plan to take a long trip this summer, remember that every extra 100 pounds you pack reduces your car’s mileage one to two percent. Especially avoid loading roof racks with cargo. They create an aerodynamic drag that lowers your fuel efficiency.
EVERYDAY GREEN CHOICES is written by Lisa Cohn and Elisa Wood, both long-time environmental writers. Contact them at email@example.com
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