Toys R Us launches new safety program, urges parents to trade-in recalled baby products

Toys R Us buying back recalled baby products.Toys R Us is launching a national Product Safety Vigilance Program to help parents protect their children from unsafe products in conjunction with the company's third "Great Trade-In," which encourages parents to exchange recalled and potentially dangerous baby items for new ones.

Over the past decade, more than 57 million cribs, car seats, bassinets, strollers, travel systems, play yards, high chairs and toddler beds have been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

According to consumer advocacy organization Kids In Danger (KID), less than 30% of affected items are typically returned when a baby product is recalled.

"Unsafe products that remain in circulation after they've been recalled present dangerous risks that could be avoided," Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys R Us, Inc, said in a statement. "The 'Great Trade-In' event calls attention to this problem while encouraging parents to scour basements and attics for used products and bring them to our stores."

The "Great Trade-In," which begins Friday (Aug. 27) and ends Sunday, Sept. 19, is designed to call attention to the fact certain used baby products may be dangerous, and should be removed from use rather than handed down or resold.

The CPSC warns against purchasing used items with a history of safety problems, including cribs, play yards and bassinets. Used products may also have been recalled, and recent enhancements in federal and voluntary standards and regulations for safety testing may render older models unsafe or out of compliance with current standards.

Some 200,000 used baby products were returned to Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores during the company's two other trade-ins. During the three week trade-in, parents will be able to exchange used cribs, car seats, bassinets, strollers, travel systems, play yards, high chairs and toddler beds in exchange for a 25% savings on the purchase of item in any of these categories from select manufacturers.

The company's safety program includes "Eight Steps to Keep Kids Safe," a checklist to keep parents informed about product recalls and a "Product Record List" to help them keep track of purchases and gifts. Both lists were designed to make product information readily available in the event of a recall.

"It's crucial that parents have the most current information available about the products in use in their homes, so they can react quickly and appropriately in the event of a recall," Kids in Danger executive director Nancy A. Cowles said in a statement.

Through the "Eight Steps to Keep Kids Safe," parents are encouraged to:
  • Register products with the manufacturer so they can be contacted in the event of a recall.
  • Track new and past purchases so that they have a quick reference guide of the products in use in their home in the event of a recall.
  • Sign up to receive recall notifications from agencies like the CPSC and NHTSA.
  • Be mindful of using secondhand products.
  • Encourage family members and friends to keep their own record of the juvenile products they use.
  • Make sure they know that anyone caring for their children has a process in place for regularly confirming the safety of the children's products they use.
  • Report any concerns with the safety of a product to the proper government agency.
  • Remove any recalled or unsafe products from use immediately.
Both the "Eight Steps to Keep Kids Safe" and "Product Record List" are available on the company's website, and in-store at the Baby Registry desk.
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