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Arthur Elk: Being aware of recalls helps protect you and your family

By Arthur Elk

Too often, companies sell consumers products that are dangerous to their health. Whether it is tainted food or a car with faulty brakes or a toy with small parts that a young child might swallow, these products pose serious risks to innocent victims. Luckily, there are several government agencies and watchdog groups such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission whose job it is to watch for the products and get them off the market as quickly as possible.

Thousands of products are recalled every year. In just the third quarter of 2012, the FDA documented an average of four food-related recalls a day, affecting nearly 8.5 million units of food and beverage products.

In just the first two weeks of this month, there have already been dozens of products recalled. Below is a list of just a few of them that may be of particular interest.

1)      Dream On Me recalled about 900 bed rails. The bed rail can separate from the mattress allowing a child’s body to become trapped if it slips between the rail and the mattress. This poses suffocation and strangulation hazards to children. No injuries have been reported. The bed rails were sold at small independent stores and online at amazon.com and wayfair.com from September 2011 through May 2012 for between $15 and $30.

2)      Dream On Me also recalled bout 50,000 bath seats. The bath seats fail to meet federal safety standards, including the requirements for stability. Specifically, the bath seats can tip over, posing a risk of drowning to babies. CPSC and Dream On Me have received five reports involving these bath seats, including a report of a near drowning involving a 12-month-old baby girl. The baby did not require medical treatment. The recall includes all Dream On Me bath seats. Some of the seats have a Dream On Me label under or on the rear of the bath seats. The bath seats were sold at small retail stores and online retailers including Amazon.com and Wayfair.com from July 2012 through September 2012 for between $25 and $40.

3)      Baby Jogger has issued a recall for about 8,400 City Versa baby strollers. The stroller frame can fail to lock in place and collapse while in use, posing a fall hazard to children in the stroller. Baby Jogger has received six reports of incidents with the stroller’s frame failing to lock, although no injuries have been reported. This recall involves all Baby Jogger City Versa model strollers manufactured between May 15 and Aug. 20, 2012. The date of manufacture is printed on the stroller’s black plastic side hinge below “Baby Jogger” and “City Versa.” “City Versa” is also printed on the stroller’s fabric in the child’s leg area. The strollers have charcoal-colored metal frames with black, silver, red or green fabric stroller seats and canopies. The strollers were sold at buybuy Baby and other juvenile product stores nationwide and online at buybuybaby.com, albeebaby.com, diapers.com and other online retailers from July 2012 through October 2012 for about $450.

4)      Bunnell Incorporated recalled Life Pulse High-Frequency Ventilator Patient Circuits. The product has been found to have heater wire insulation that can melt, causing sparking and smoke close to the humidifier cartridge.  There have been 12 reported failures out of 5,743 Patient Circuits distributed. There have been no reports of patient injury or death. However, Bunnell wants clinicians to be aware of the potential that a Patient Circuit failure could result in patient injury or death.

5)      Veggie Patch recalled its Ultimate Meatless Burger and Falafel due to a risk of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The Ultimate Meatless Burger and Falafel, from Veggie Patch, with the specific use-by dates and UPC codes listed below were distributed to a select number of retailers and distributors. The Ultimate Meatless Burger that is recalled had a Use-By date of Jan. 12, 2013 and was available for sale as of Nov. 21, 2012, in the following states; NY, CT, PA, FL, IL, MD, IN, WI, VA, NJ and DE.  Falafel with a Use-By date of Jan. 15, 2013, was available for sale as of Nov. 21, 2012, nationwide. No illnesses have been reported to date.  Veggie Patch discovered this issue as part of its routine testing of its products.

There have been many more recent recalls besides the ones listed above, and you should be aware of all of them. You don’t want to be feeding your family contaminated food or letting your child play with a dangerous toy. There are many ways to keep track of what has been recalled. One good place to follow food recalls is the FDA’s website. Also, the CPSC’s website keeps you up-to-date on consumer product recalls. Both sites allow you to sign up for e-mail notifications anytime a new recall is announced.

At Elk & Elk, we are serious about safety and helping keep you and your family healthy. That’s why we use our social media feeds (http://www.facebook.com/ElkandElk and http://www.twitter.com/elkandelk) to help inform you anytime there are important recalls. Staying informed will help keep your family safe from dangerous products.