Following the fatal strangulation of a 10-month-old boy in Texas, federal safety officials on Thursday announced the recall of more than 400,000 infant play yards sold by a Chicago company.
Meanwhile, an embarrassed Oak Brook-based RC2 Corp. admitted that in response to consumers who sent in lead-tainted Thomas & Friends railway toys that were recalled in June, it sent out replacements that included another toy covered with lead paint.
And Pottery Barn Kids posted a notice on its Web site recalling the Mini Zooper Doll Stroller because it poses a pinching hazard to children. The recall of more than 20,000 of the toy strollers will be officially announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Friday, a company spokesman said. Customers who bought the product will be able to get a free repair kit or a refund.
The recall of 425,000 Kolcraft Enterprises Inc. play yards -- a total of 11 different models -- is the second major recall of a children's nursery product in a week. On Sept. 21, the CPSC recalled 1 million cribs manufactured by Simplicity Inc. because of design and hardware flaws.
The Kolcraft play yards were recalled in the wake of the May 4 death of Dominick Meneses in Anthony, Texas. The boy was found hanging from a restraint strap on a changing table on the Sesame Beginnings travel play yard, according to a spokesman for the El Paso County sheriff's office.
The strap was hanging down underneath the changing table that, when used, is fastened to the top of the play yard, according to the recall notice. The infant was unconscious and unresponsive when he was found and later died at a hospital. The sheriff's office notified the CPSC on June 12, the spokesman said.
In addition to the strangulation hazard, one of the play yards -- the Contours 3-in-1 play yard -- also has a suffocation hazard. That model has a cradle attached to the top of the product and, when the cradle rocks, there is a risk that an infant can roll, get trapped against the side and be suffocated.
Consumers were instructed to "immediately stop using the changing tables and rocking cradle" and contact Kolcraft for instructions on obtaining a replacement strap that does not have a loop and a repair kit to secure the base of the cradle.
Meanwhile, RC2 officials released a statement Thursday saying that it was "deeply apologetic" and embarrassed after it learned that some parents who sought replacement of railway toys covered with lead-based paint were sent a railway car called Toad that also was lead-tainted.
"You would think they would test the trains they are giving to kids," said Jill Cataldo of Huntley, who received one of the Toad railway cars as a bonus after she sent three of her son's Thomas toys back to the firm following the June recall of 1.5 million wooden railway toys.
After RC2 announced the June recall, consumers were told to ship the tainted items back for replacements and that they would be reimbursed for shipping costs and receive a free gift. "I paid $3.03 to mail them and I got a check back for $1.81, three replacements and the premium was the Toad," Cataldo said.
Cataldo said her 2 1/2-year-old son, Ben, was so excited when the replacement toys arrived July 30 that she videotaped him opening the package. The toys are his "absolute favorite and he plays with them every day," she said.
"So I opened up the newspaper this morning and I find out that the Toad is now being recalled because it has lead paint," she said. "I literally ran upstairs to get it from Ben's room."
"It's shocking," she said. "'Disgusted' doesn't even begin to describe it."
Company officials said in a statement that the Toad toys were made in 2006 by Hansheng Wood Products, the same Chinese manufacturer that was linked to the June recall. RC2 has since cut ties with that company.
"Unfortunately, the discovery that certain Toad vehicles could be potentially unsafe was made in August, after Toads had been sent as bonus gifts to some families," the statement said.
The company estimates that "no more than 2,000" of the 146,000 bonus gifts are subject to recall.
Consumers who received Toad vehicles are instructed to send them to the company, and they will be sent a replacement and another free gift.
Separately, the Energy and Commerce Commission sent the "Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act" to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday for a full vote. The bill, named for a Chicago child who died in 1998 after being strangled in a portable crib that collapsed, would require that durable products for babies and children include registration materials for quick notification of parents in the event of a product recall.
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