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Understanding product recalls and dangers to consumers

Many people in New York make their purchases based on cost, color or design of a product without worrying about safety. They may reason that since manufacturers are required to meet certain standards, anything on the market should not be dangerous. Unfortunately, many items make it from the manufacturer to the consumer with flaws that have the potential to cause injuries.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission explains that companies should issue recalls when a dangerous problem is discovered with one of their products. A manufacturer, distributor, retailer or importer must let this agency know when it comes to light that one of its products falls into one of the following categories:

  •          There is an undue risk that the product will lead to a serious or fatal injury.
  •          The product does not meet all applicable laws and safety standards.
  •          A flaw in the product has the potential to cause a hazard.

The CPSC analyzes the product to determine if there is a risk, and if so, what level of hazard it presents. Class C indicates that serious or even moderate harm is not likely, but it is possible for someone to be hurt by the product. Class B hazards have a high likelihood of causing a moderate injury, and a slight risk of a serious injury, but even a fatality is possible. The most dangerous products are labeled as Class A hazards, and people using these products are very likely to be seriously, grievously or fatally injured.

Typically, consumers will be directed to stop using the products immediately and take an action. This may be to return the faulty product to the store or manufacturer for a refund. Other times, the company may be able to correct the issue without such a drastic action. For example, the CPSC has recently posted a recall involving a child carrier that adults can wear as a backpack. According to the notice, four children have fallen through the openings designed for the legs. Two of these resulted in head injuries. This recall does not require customers to return the backpacks. Instead, the company has resolved the danger by providing a seat pad that prevents a child from slipping out of the carrier through the leg holes.

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