Little Tikes Recalls One Million Toy Phones for Choking Hazard

Washington, DC – A children’s toy cell phone that could prove to be a substantial choking hazard has been recalled by the US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Given the number of toys recalled, you just might have one.

About one million units have been recalled.

The small toy phones are manufactured by Kids Station Toys International Ltd. of Miami, FLA for Little Tikes. The toy phones are cute and the name is darling: Little Tikes Chit ‘N Chat toy cell phones.

However, the darling red-and-blue toy flip phones with the multi-colored buttons can prove deadly, thanks to a manufacturing problem that could see the small, plastic hinge cover come off and wind up deep in the throat of an unsuspecting child. So far there have been three reports of the hinge cover detaching from the phone, and one child was saved from choking. In the latter incident, the child was just beginning to choke when a caregiver came to the rescue.

Some phones have a single screw in the hinge cover, which is discernable when the phone is closed. These toys are not included in the recall. However, toys without the anchoring screw necessary to keep the potentially dangerous small hinge cover in place should be set aside immediately, and taken out of harm’s way.

The Little Tikes brand Chit ‘N Chat Toy Cell Phone resembles a flip-phone style cell phone and has a 10-key numeric button pad, together with three buttons with pictures of animals. All of the buttons make a sound when pressed. The toy phones are multi-colored and have a sticker on the back with model number KSL4010 (sold separately) or KSL8032, KSL8033, or KSL8051 (sold with other items). “Designed and Licensed by Kids Station Toys International Ltd.” is printed on the back of the toy phones.

The seemingly harmless toy phones were sold nationwide in department, juvenile product and drug stores from June of 2006 through March of this year. Price: about $8 for each individual phone, or about $20 for a set.

Look for the screw visible from the top of the hinge cover when the phone is closed. If the phone your child is using comes equipped with such a screw, which serves to anchor the hinge cover in place, then your phone is not on the recall list and your child’s toy is not thought to provide a choking hazard.

However, if that anchoring screw is not visible, it suggests that the small, plastic hinge cover is not sufficiently anchored, and could come off. The edges are sharp, which could make extrication from a child’s throat difficult.

The phones were manufactured in China.

It’s somewhat ironic that Little Tikes, a favored brand in children’s toys, invites consumers to peruse their web site for a listing of all their toys made in the USA, “or made in the USA with US and imported parts,” and represents a part of “our continued commitment to safe, high quality, fun toys.”

However, as has been demonstrated time and time again, the quality of many products originating from China has provided cause for suspicion and concern, and this latest voluntary recall is no different. Despite the All-American name on the label, here we have upwards of one million toys made in China recalled due to a very real and potential choking hazard.

Thankfully, no lives have been lost so far. But one can imagine the risk associated with a child playing with a Little Tikes Chit ‘N Chat Phone. Little Tikes motto is ‘Fun That Lasts.’ It would be a shame that such a toy as that manufactured in China and recalled this week could wind up being the last toy your child ever plays with…

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