China Still Dominates in Product Recalls

Washington DC – A number of recent product recalls are proving alarming to parents, who fear for the safety of their children, and with good reason.

Case in point: This week about 20,000 Simmons Kids Crib Mattresses were recalled because of a size, and dimensional issue. Some of the crib mattresses can measure smaller than the 27 1/4 inch minimum width requirement for cribs, creating a gap between the mattress and crib side rails, posing an entrapment hazard to infants.

So far, the manufacturer and the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) are aware of one incident where a six-month-old baby became wedged between the mattress and the crib frame. Luckily, the baby was found and removed from the hazard by its parents, before any heartbreaking injury, or death to the baby was possible.

Not all Defective Products Made In China

We’ll provide details of this, and two other product recalls a bit further down. But lest you think that these mattresses were made in China—a conclusion to which you could be forgiven—these products were actually made in the good old USA.

Yes, sometimes manufacturing problems happen here at home. And sometimes, Americans are too quick to blame China for everything.

But wait a minute—here are two more recalls from the CPSC’s notice of June 5th. Wireless Conference Phone Batteries that could pose a fire hazard have been recalled by Polycom Inc., of Pleasanton California. Specifically, the SoundStation2W Wireless Conference Phones with Lithium Ion batteries contained in a battery pack. The battery packs could overheat and constitute a fire hazard.

The distributor of the potentially fiery battery packs is Gold Peak Industries Ltd., of Hong Kong.

And yes, they were made in China—as were the Children’s Animal Tracking Explorer Kit, units of which were recalled this week by MindWare of Roseville, Minnesota.

Among other substances in the kit is a powder marked ‘plaster of paris’. However, in reality the material is calcium hydroxide, which poses the risk of skin and eye irritation to children using the product.

Thankfully, there have been no injuries reported thus far. Kids will be kids. They never wash their hands, and they always rub their eyes.

The fact that the kits were imported from China is troubling, given the rash of recalls involving everything from toothpaste, to pet food, to children’s toys containing lead paint.

Tainted heparin comes to mind, which is turning into a global problem.

Why So Many Defective Products Come From China

American corporations have been protecting their bottom lines by outsourcing more and more production to China, which in turn is eager to get the business in an effort to fund its growing economy.

But at what cost? Surely by now importers of goods from China, regardless of whether they are fully manufactured products or individual parts and ingredients, realize that it is not enough to do random checks, and inspections. Importers need to ensure the work is done right, and the products are safe.

Unless there is a sea change of public opinion with regard to products coming out of China, earned quite rightly by a dramatic, and sustained increase in quality akin to the Japanese automotive industry for example, imports from China will always be viewed with suspicion. Whether it’s a product used by ourselves, or a product we give our kids to play with, the ‘Made in China’ label is increasingly being made to mean ‘beware…’

And it just means law firms like ours’ will be busy defending innocent and well-meaning American consumers from potentially dangerous goods.

Details of the Three Latest Recalls

Here are the details of the three recalls:

Simmons Kids recalled mattresses involve open coil crib mattresses manufactured between July 1, 2006 and March 23, 2008 with a color label attached to the top or side of the mattress that has the following model names:

  • Pottery Barn Kids by Simmons Kids Lullaby
  • Simmons Kids Slumber Time Evening Star Luxury Firm
  • Simmons Kids Baby Mattress Series 400
  • Simmons Kids Baby Mattress 234 Coil Count

The crib mattresses also have a law tag that is sewn into the edge of the mattress. The law tag has the date of manufacture and in most cases will contain one of the following model numbers: H59044.15.0014, M59082.15.0002, M59027.15.0002 or M59065.15.0006. Pocketed Coils(r) and Simmons Kids or Simmons Juvenile Products crib mattresses manufactured before July 1, 2006 or after March 23, 2008 are not included in the recall.

Sold at: Pottery Barn Kids and nursery furniture retailers from July 2006 through May 2008 for between $100 and $150.

Recalled battery packs were supplied by Gold Peak Industries Ltd. and sold with Polycom’s SoundStation2W wireless conference phones from December 1, 2007 until May 2, 2008, and separately as replacement battery packs during the same time period. The SoundStation2W part numbers and SKU numbers are printed on the underside of the telephone and include the following models:

Part Number | SKU Number

2201-67800-022 | 2200-07800-001

2201-67880-022 | 2200-07880-001

SoundStation2W recalled battery pack part numbers, SKU numbers and date codes are as follows:

Part Number | SKU Number | Date Code

1520-07803-003 | 2200-07803-002 | GP1207, GP0108, GP0208, GP0308 (December 2007 through March 2008)

1520-07804-003 | 2200-07804-002 | GP1207, GP0108, GP0208, GP0308 (December 2007 through March 2008)

The battery packs have a black or white plastic coating and a white label with the following title: “RECHARGEABLE Li-ion BATTERY.” The recalled battery pack part numbers can be found on the bottom right hand corner of the white label on the battery pack. The date code can be found to the left of the part number printed on the white label of the battery.

Sold by: Authorized dealers nationwide through catalogs, online, telesales, office supply stores, the Polycom Web store, and Fry’s Electronics retail locations from December 2007 through May 2, 2008 for between $700 and $900. Replacement battery packs were sold for between $50 and $90 through the same outlets.

Manufactured in: China

The recalled “Animal Tracking Explorer Kit” includes a bag of white powder marked “plaster of paris” which is actually calcium hydroxide. It also includes nature study tools and equipment (field lens, specimen jars and bags, labels, puff bottle, plastic gloves, spatula, cardboard strips, paper clips, mixing pot, tweezers, spoon, notebook) and Explorer Guide.

Sold at: The firm’s Web site, www.MindWareOnline.com, and by MindWare’s catalog from September 2007 through December 2007 for about $25

Consumers should immediately take the recalled explorer kit away from children.

Contact a Product Liability Attorney

When you need a lawyer who will exhaustively investigate your case and make sure that every responsible party is held accountable, contact The Killino Firm, where Keeping America Safe is our primary goal. Contact a Philadelphia product liability lawyer or call us toll free at 800-815-2603 to speak with a qualified attorney today. We will respond promptly to your inquiry so that you can experience the The Killino Firm Difference.