Wednesday, December 9, 2009

When it Comes to Children's Safety, Where You Shop Is as Important as What You Buy

/PRNewswire/ -- People are making their list and checking it twice, and while the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has ensured concerned parents that the number of recalls has fallen sharply from prior levels, holiday shoppers must be cautious when shopping for gifts for that special young person on their list. ExpertRECALL is putting shoppers on alert.

One thing is clear as shopping and spending data for the holiday season floods in. Recent data on retailers' November performance shows that, in general, shoppers favored lower priced items. According to data from the National Retail Federation, more than 40 percent of shoppers over the age of 18 shopped at discount stores during Black Friday weekend. When including thrift stores, resale shops and outlet stores, nearly 60 percent of shoppers over the age of 18 did their holiday shopping at these discounted retailers. In a continuing trend, less-expensive retailers, discounters or lower-priced apparel sellers are outperforming their competitors.

For those shoppers who are contributing to this trend, ExpertRECALL issues the following warning: where you shop may be as important as what you buy.

"When buying at deep discount stores and second-hand shops, take extra care to watch for recalled goods," explained Mike Rozembajgier, Director of Recalls at ExpertRECALL, the industry leader in managing consumer and juvenile product recalls. "Once a manufacturer's product leaves its primary supply chain, it can be difficult to track and remove goods from the marketplace. Also be careful of hand-me-down toys and items purchased at thrift stores and second-hand shops."

But there is good news for parents and shoppers. The number of toy recalls is down sharply from a few years ago. We experienced nearly 150 toy recall events in 2007 alone, with toy recall events down to roughly 40 to date in 2009.

Consumers should rest assured that manufacturers and retailers are doing what they can to protect their customers. But consumers can also take matters in their own hands. "There are several cautionary steps that consumers can take to protect themselves and the people they love during the holidays and throughout year to come," said Rozembajgier.

Important tips to consumers:

-- Check your shopping list in advance. Consumer safety websites,
parenting websites, the CPSC and others provide helpful information on
children's product safety. As shoppers go online to look for sales and
discount coupons, they might also cross check their shopping list for
safety. All product recall announcements are archived and easily
searchable on the CPSC website (www.cpsc.gov).

-- Remember to check the toys twice. Look again at toys that have been
sitting in lay-away or that were purchased throughout the year and
stored.

-- Be aware of current product safety issues. Most consumers know to look
for lead paint levels or toys with small parts that can cause choking.
Don't forget prior recalls as you shop at deep-discount stores who
purchase unsold lots, which could contain hazardous toys.

-- Complete registration cards for the products you purchase. By doing
so, you are allowing the company to contact you directly in the event
the product poses a safety or health hazard to you or your child.

-- Watch for product recall data after the holiday season. Just because
your gift wasn't recalled when you purchased it, doesn't mean it won't
be. Keep an eye on recall news in case you need to remove the toy and
make a return.


Manufacturers, under the vigilant eye of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and ever watchful consumers, are taking the necessary steps to manufacture safer toys. Similarly, some retailers are taking matters into their own hands by testing products before stocking their shelves. But ExpertRECALL reminds and encourages consumers to do their part in keeping their children, families and loved ones safe this holiday season.

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