Fall & Choking Hazard Recall — Toys R Us ImaginariumPublished by John Hopkins in Defective Design, Product Defect
Consumers are being warned to stop using the Imaginarium Activity Walkers for children after the government received five reports of the wheels detaching. No children were injured.
The product is sold by Toys R Us which has issued a recall for 9,000 units of the walkers, used to help babies take their first steps. The walker has a wooden push handle at the top of the walker and the base has four wheels. A small bolt and spacer attached to the front wheel can potentially detach and cause the child to fall and/or choke on the parts.
Consumers are encouraged to take the walkers back to the store for a full refund.
The Imaginarium Activity Walker was sold exclusively at Toys R Us stores from August 2011 through January of this year at a cost of about $30. The walker was made in China and imported by Toys R. Us Inc of Wayne, New Jersey.
Health Canada has issued a similar Consumer Product Recall.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and its CPSC Safer Products site will continue to take consumer calls and complaints regarding this recalled product.
Federal law prohibits anyone from selling or re-selling a defective product on the retail or second-hand market where many children’s products end up.
The CPSC protects the public from thousands of consumer products that pose an unreasonable risk of injury or death. The cost to the nation for defective consumer products? More than $900 billion annually.
That may include baby products and children’s bedding with carcinogenic flame retardant chemicals, which were removed from the market in California beginning in January; defective baby furniture and cribs which can trap and suffocate infants; and defective child products containing lead, among many other products that have been recalled over the years.
The agency has been criticized for working too closely with manufacturers. In August 1995, the CPSC initiated a fast-track recall program to get defective products off of store shelves.
In a concession to manufacturers, the CPSC eliminated the preliminary determination to establish whether or not a product is defective in its design, its manufacturing or in its instructions for use. In return, manufacturers agreed to comply with a recall and to notify distributors, wholesaler and retailers within 20 days. This saves years of litigation and gets defective products off the store shelves quicker.
Under law, manufacturers must report any risks of serious injury or death to the CPSC and the agency receives about 300 a year. A failure to report a defective product can result in a civil penalty of up to $1.5 million.
In this case, the loss of the product itself will cost Toys R Us around $270,000; plus the overhead and costs involved in announcing and running the recall process. Why can’t we reach a program in which manufacturers actually test their products before placing them on the market; to, for example, determine whether the wheels will fall off before they go on the shelves for sale to unwary consumers.
The company can be reached at (800) 869-7787 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.