Fisher-Price to Recall and Fix Power Wheels Toys After Reports of Fires

From Washington Post

In one of the nation’s largest toy recalls, the Consumer Product Safety Commission will announce today that Fisher-Price has agreed to recall and repair up to 10 million battery-powered Power Wheels cars and trucks because they pose a serious fire risk, even when not in use.

Children ride on the vehicles, which retail for $70 to $300 and can go as fast as 5 mph.

The CPSC has received 150 reports of fires, including fires started while cars are parked in garages, playrooms and closets, resulting in minor burns to nine children and $300,000 in property damage. The agency received an additional 700 reports of electrical components failing or overheating, causing smoke or melted parts.

The problem “needs to be tended to right away,” CPSC Chairwoman Ann Brown said. Parents should remove a car’s batteries immediately (models have either one or two 6-volt batteries) until they can bring the car into a specially designated Fisher-Price repair shop for a complete overhaul, the CPSC said.


The CPSC also said it has received about six dozen complaints of Power Wheels toys failing to stop after a child lifts his or her foot off the pedal. Six children have suffered minor injuries when the cars failed to stop and hit another object.

The cars have been sold since 1984 under such names as Barbie Jeep, Big Jake and Extreme Machine.

The Power Wheels recall is the nation’s largest of any toy sold in stores. Only two other recalls were larger--one in 1988 and one in 1990--but they involved small promotional toys in cereal boxes.

Mattel Inc., Fisher-Price’s parent company and the nation’s largest toy maker, said it was voluntarily taking action to correct the problem. The announcement, however, comes at an awkward time for the company, which is expected today to announce a drop in third-quarter profit.

There will be about 400 repair centers in the United States. Parents can call the Power Wheels hotline at (800) 977-7800 for locations.

The CPSC said it was investigating toy cars made by other manufacturers. Parents who have noticed problems should call the manufacturer or the CPSC at (800) 638-2772.