Tracking recalls can seem overwhelming, but left unchecked, defective products can cause serious injury or even death, especially to children.
For example, drawstrings on a child’s sweatshirt could cause strangulation, small parts of toys may pose a choking risk and recalled produce could cause food poisoning.
To help consumers keep their families safe from recalled products, the federal government has created www.recalls.gov, where you can search recent recalls by category, such as vehicles, food or child safety seats.
The website pools information from six major federal agencies, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In addition to checking recalls on www.recalls.gov, you also can sign up to receive email alerts when certain products are recalled. For example, you may decide you want to receive notifications only about children’s products or only about 2005 Ford vehicles. To view other alert options or to sign up, visit www.recalls.gov/list.html.
If you have an iPhone, Android or Blackberry, you also can download a recall app (application), which allows you to search for recalls anywhere you have access to your phone, such as while shopping in a store.
Learn more about toy safety
Parents and other caregivers can learn how to protect their children from potentially harmful products by reading “Trouble in Toyland,” an annual toy safety and product recall report from the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (U.S. PIRG).
The 2010 report offers guidelines for purchasing safe toys and examples of toys that pose choking hazards and those that contain toxic chemicals, such as lead.
Check all recalls – federal government agencies
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Vehicle safety recalls – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Food, medicine and cosmetics recalls – Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Report on toy safety – U.S. PIRG
Recall safety blog – Consumer Reports