Buyer Beware
August 6, 2009 8:50 PM   Subscribe

Thinking about becoming a parent? You might find the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's list of recalled items fun! It looks like there's just under a zillion things out there that might harm your new tot. And that doesn't include ... y'know ... toys.
posted by GatorDavid (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Who could possibly have thought those baby hammocks were a good idea?

Don't these companies hire someone to watch out for safety?
posted by smackfu at 9:00 PM on August 6, 2009

It's a miracle we've made it so far as a species....
posted by c13 at 9:01 PM on August 6, 2009

At least half of that list comprises of hooded sweatshirts.
posted by saturnine at 9:01 PM on August 6, 2009

It also goes back to 1974, if you were feeling discourage at the length.
posted by smackfu at 9:02 PM on August 6, 2009

So is this a China problem? I've never understood whether American toys sold at Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us, Dollar General, Walgreens, etc, are designed by American technicians and manufactured in China, or whether everything is done start-to-finish in China.

On another note... what the %*@, swingsets cost $800 to $2300?? We're only talking about some welded prefab steel pipe, chains, and plastic. I guess I'm in the wrong line of work.
posted by crapmatic at 9:03 PM on August 6, 2009

Thinking about becoming a parent?

Let me check with Askme...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 PM on August 6, 2009

Oh, it's not so bad. I bet stuff was way deadlier back in the day--people just weren't so litigious. Corporate ass-covering is rising in tandem with the "who can I blame this on" mentality.
posted by Go Banana at 9:25 PM on August 6, 2009

As a friend of mine recently commented, it really is pretty maddening to find your baby's soother brand on the recall list *after* your baby has outgrown it.
posted by orange swan at 9:40 PM on August 6, 2009

They could have avoided the recall of Halloween Skull Pails if this poisonous product had contained a suitable warning label, perhaps a skull.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:09 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Air recalled; prolonged inhalation results in fatality.
posted by Graygorey at 10:28 PM on August 6, 2009

There goes my idea for the fun-size Lego Gallows with Weight-Activated Secret Trapdoor. (Dr. Guillotine's Shaving Machine sold seperately.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:19 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

hmmm...they forgot this product.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:16 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Bag O' Glass!
posted by IvoShandor at 3:36 AM on August 7, 2009

Who could possibly have thought those baby hammocks were a good idea?

Did you see the photo? This is hilariously close to bag o' glass territory. I love the little seatbelt ... on a strip of cloth attached to an interlocking rope net hanging from a stick!
posted by palliser at 5:24 AM on August 7, 2009

"Corporate ass-covering is rising in tandem with the "who can I blame this on" mentality."

You're seriously blaming child product safety violations -- such as putting lead paint on something that goes in a kid's mouth or a floatation device that can just give up and attempt to drown a baby -- on the victims? I don't doubt there are some pretty dumb lawsuits out there, that some of these products are just plain stupid to begin with, and that there's some pretty dumb "corporate ass-covering" out there, but come on. Is this some kind of crazy-ass Republican anti-regulation talking point? Or just general crazy-ass talking?

It's not corporate ass-covering. It's that the American consumer's "race to the bottom," exemplified by Wal-Mart's notorious power to put the squeeze on distributors and manufacturers to cut corners in order to meet price targets, has led to the widespread availability of shittier and shittier products. It's a China problem in the sense that we as western consumers have more or less demanded that our products be made as cheaply as possible and then turned over the manufacturing work to an almost entirely unregulated entity.

Putting our fingers in our ears and singing "la la la la LOWER PRICES!" is at the heart of the problem, combined with over-reliance on a trading partner that has absolutely no qualms about selling us poisonous, poorly designed, or badly made child products. Blame ignorant consumerism. Don't blame some parent whose kid damn near drowned or is growing up brain damaged from ingesting products adulterated with Chinese lead.
posted by majick at 5:33 AM on August 7, 2009 [4 favorites]

just a fe weeks ago, i went to buy my toddler daughter a swimsuit at walmart. i picked one out, and went to the checkout, where it beeped menacingly in the autoscan. apparently the swimsuit i had picked out was recalled. they wouldn't sell it to me.
posted by lester at 5:47 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Apologies...I just meant all the hooded sweatshirts (I mean, really now!). Not trying to minimize legitimate safety issues, and no one hates the Wal-Martization of consumer goods more than me. I guess that'll teach me for trying to find the humour in something.
posted by Go Banana at 10:07 AM on August 7, 2009

Well, yeah. The hooded sweatshirt thing strikes me as being borderline overboard, but if CPSC says they're a factor in injuries, hell, I'll take it. There are so few forces acting with authority against preventable injury that I can't really muster more than a halfhearted objection to something silly like recalls to prevent for infant strangulation from products that are designed with a cord around the neck.

But yeah, I guess you're right. There's probably some Andy Rooney humor to be had here if you need it.
posted by majick at 10:43 AM on August 7, 2009

If we didn't have such a pandering need for "new and improved" 1001 varieties, they could easily make a decent range of toys and products year in and year out that withstood the test of time safety-wise.

This over-variety-ization drives me nuts. We really need 40 different brands and styles of toothpaste? Why do we need option tweaked new models of shoes/tents/cars/...etFc?
posted by edgeways at 2:36 PM on August 7, 2009

Why do the hooded sweatshirts seem overboard? Children have died from poorly designed sweatshirts, bizarre as that seems. The drawstring loop gets snagged up at the top of the slide, the kid goes down the slide, and that's that.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:58 PM on August 7, 2009

"We really need 40 different brands and styles of toothpaste?"

WalMart is directly to blame for this mushrooming of ill conceived choice. They demand, and get, concessions on pricing from every vendor every year. The only way the vendors can escape the slow grinding away of all their profit is to bring out a new product. Which is fine for the guys making potato chips, toothpaste basically hasn't changed since they added fluoride. So viola, six hundred different varieties of toothbrushs and toothpaste and you can't buy plain old unscented antiperspirant because their isn't anyway to repackage that out of the price reduction press. The lack of unscented antiperspirant, not only at WalMart but everywhere (exception Mennen), is the core of my white hot rage that burns with the heat of a thousand suns for WalMart.
posted by Mitheral at 2:59 AM on August 8, 2009

Vendors sell more by diversifying their product, by targeting the desires of individual consumers and by creating brands that hit specific price points. Blaming Walmart is a bit silly. Malcolm Gladwell's article on ketchup talks about this for pasta sauce, where they used to try to create the one perfect sauce, and then found that different people like different sauces, and creating separate lines that covered the three different types made most people happier.
posted by smackfu at 8:36 AM on August 8, 2009

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