No, this is not a new version of the John Jacob Jingle Heimer Smith song! The federal product recall website, CPSC, is a must have online resource for any product recall. You should become very familiar with this website if you, children and toys are ever in the same room at the same time!
It seems we are constantly hearing about a manufacturers' recall of a children's toy or product. How can we ever stay on top of this and know about a recall that affects our preschool classrooms?
CPSC stands for Consumer Product Safety Commission and their website is one of the best safety resources you can have on your computer and at your fingertips!
Once upon a time, there was a preschool teacher who was in search of a specific toy. It was very popular with her preschool students. Magnetic blocks! The children LOVED them! And why not- a winning combination in a toy: cars and magnets together! They could make cars, trains and houses out of them. They came in primary colors with great geometrical shapes on them.
When the preschool teacher brought this bin of popular blocks into the classroom, she saw that she needed more! They all played so well and excitedly together with them!
So, she took a mini adventure online in search of more. She checked eBay. Nothing. Amazon. Nothing. Then, the infamous Google search. Wow! Page after page of them! But, every web store was “sold out”. How could this be?
She finally found the name of the company who sold them, went to their website and finally, there they were! But wait... they looked different. These were in multiple colors with stripes on them. None of the primary colored blocks that she had. None with geometrical shapes.
Sadly, she continued on with her online search. Surely, someone has a set that would match hers!
The last link she tried brought her to an article—about the RECALL of this toy due to a possible choking hazard. It had been recalled…ready, wait for it...wait for it.....2 YEARS earlier!
The article stated that the magnets caused a choking hazard when they became loose! Aha, that is why the company changed the look…smaller magnets!
The article was found on the CPSC website.
The preschool teacher? Yup...me. The block magnets in our classroom? Yup, right again- you guessed it…in the trash!
Magnetic Stacking Train
Allow yourself some time with a cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa to look around on their website. Sign up for the RSS feed or e-mail digests. Don’t panic!
You don’t have to receive recall information on every single product recalled in the United States of America!
You have the option to specify the type(s) of product recall you want to receive. You can specify only recalls that have to do with children’s items. This is the email digest I requested.
You can sign up for this digest by entering your email into the box to the right.
Also, you can add that same recall box to YOUR center's website. It would be a great service for the parents in your center.
Be proactive, not reactive as I had to be with the magnet blocks! Now that you have the website address, set up a time each week to look up the items you are about to put in your play area for your child(ren) BEFORE they play with them.
You’d be surprised what might be on the product recall list. In some instances the company has offered a free replacement!
Check the email when it comes in just in case there is something other than a toy recalled.
One email I received this past year informed me about a plastic drinking cup that was recalled due to high levels of lead in the plastic. The cup had a very popular children’s movie character on it and was distributed by a popular restaurant.
Although we did not have any of these drinking cups in our preschool, we knew that the children in our area eat at this restaurant with their families. We printed the article and distributed it to the parents to let them know about it.
Due diligence, by definition refers to acting with a certain standard of care. We now have the tool to stay on top of the safety recall issues that potentially affect the care of our children and to educate other families!
Educate yourself on the contents of the CPSC website and then…….pay the education forward! Let other teachers and families know of this website and the information they can learn from it.