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Product Recalls: What to Do

Follow these tips on how to keep your child safe when a product has been recalled.

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I'm Dr. Ari Brown, and I'm here to talk about children's product recalls and how to deal with them. It's hard to believe how many products get recalled. In 2012, 97 children's products were recalled. Why? Well, just because a product is sitting on a store shelf does not mean that it has been tested or that it is safe. Some safety standards are mandatory and others are voluntary. For example, car seats have mandatory regulations to ensure that they meet crash safety standards. Other products like infant recliners have no regulations. And when it comes to over-the-counter medications that are already on the market, the Food and Drug Administration does periodic assessments to ensure safety. But more often, a company identifies a problem or consumer complaints prompt an investigation. Recalls happen when one of three government agencies receives complaints. The concerned prompts a recall and safety testing. Some recalls are minor. For instance, a product may not have proper labeling. Other recalls arise from reports of injury, or even death. And sometimes, it can take hundreds or thousands of incidents before a recall is issued. The good news is, national retail chains do not sell recalled products. But beware of online vendors and second-hand sellers because there are no industry standards for them. So, what's a parent to do? Here are some important tips. Follow the advice on the recall. You may need to stop using a product. Call the manufacturer, and get a repair kit to fix the defect. You may even be able to return the product where you purchased it, if the company is no longer in business. Order from reputable vendors like Amazon.com who notify customers if a recall occurs. Take a look at recalls.gov. Here, you can search an entire database of recalled children's products, including drugs. You can browse saferproducts.gov to find consumer complaints about products, even those that have not been recalled. You can also go to parents.comecalls to see the latest recalls and sign up to get them e-mailed to you when they're posted. But it's our job as parents to ensure our children's safety. So, it's crucial to be an informed consumer and pay attention to recalls.