The post is part of #recallawareness month October 2013. Recall Awareness is about getting vendors, companies and consumers together for thoughts around prevention and crisis preparedness. We had the pleasure of sharing our thoughts around product recalls with our friends and partners at WeeSpring.com. For the original October 24, 2013 post see here. 

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Recalls happen across many areas that affect a family: food, cars, medicines, household appliances, and toys. Last quarter, there were 15 children’s product recalls accounting for over 3,223,949 units. While some items like car seats and strollers are more prone to serious issues; other items can have minor quality concerns. So, how do you know what recall is important to follow versus another? Here are five easy tips for parents to stay up to speed on product safety:

1. Sign Up for Relevant Newsletters: Unfortunately there is no “central” source for recall related information. While many sites claim to be the all-in-one solution, there are still gaps. Create a folder in your email inbox for safety alerts and sign up for relevant emails like these:

  • Recalls Direct has a very fast, accurate, and usable email newsletter regarding recalls (one of the best for a busy parent). Click here to sign up for Recalls Direct alerts (look for the box on the left hand sidebar).

2. Set Google Alerts: A google alert is an email with a summary of the matching results receiving high traffic online. Visit alerts.google.com and set up an alert for key phrases like “product recall” which can return some good headlines and information to skim.

3. Check Allergens and Labels: Allergens and mislabeling account for more than half of food recalls every year, in fact 60% of FDA related recalls are due to allergens most quarters. If your children have food allergies, create a separate area in a cabinet for their food. Set up a google alert for relevant topics like “almond recall” or “almond allergy.” Shop with mindful retailers to help ensure great products and opportunities to get informed quickly.

4. Shop Online: Online shopping has become easier with more products, better deals, simple return policies, and fast mobile shopping. Using websites like Amazon.com that are linked to your email address can guarantee the fastest notice possible should there be an issue.

5. Make it Fun: Being an informed consumer is part of growing up. As kids get older, take the time to explain products. Set a reminder to do research once a week. Recalls shouldn’t be scary. As new and innovative products surface to suit consumer demand, we should be patient with companies as they move through these changes. Staying up to date only takes minutes and empowers your purchasing decisions.