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.Â 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.Â
Recalls happen across many areas that affect a family: food, cars, medicines, household appliances, and toys. Last quarter, there were 15 childrenâ€™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?Â Here are five easy tips for parents to stay up to speed on product safety:
1. Sign Up for Relevant Newsletters:Â Unfortunately there is no â€œcentralâ€ 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 DirectÂ has a very fast, accurate, and usable email newsletter regarding recalls (one of the best for a busy parent).Â Click hereÂ to sign up for Recalls Direct alerts (look for the box on the left hand sidebar).
- Safe KidsÂ offers a comprehensive breakdown of recall news and alerts across several agencies and comes highly recommended by parents.Â Sign up for their newsletter here.
- TheÂ U.S. Food and Drug AdministrationÂ (FDA)Â has good alerts but can be very technical and limited to only Food and Drugs (medications).Â Sign up for FDA alerts here.
- TheÂ Consumer Product Safety CommissionÂ is limited to regulating toys and childrenâ€™s goods, but has done an extensive job in the last few years to enforce compliance and reduce the amount of recalls.Â Sign up for CPSC alerts here.
2. Set Google Alerts:Â A google alert is an email with a summary of the matching results receiving high traffic online. VisitÂ alerts.google.comÂ and set up an alert for key phrases like â€œproduct recallâ€ which can return some good headlines and information to skim.
3. Check Allergens and Labels:Â Allergens and mislabeling account for more than half of food recalls every year, in factÂ 60% of FDA related recallsÂ 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 â€œalmond recallâ€ or â€œalmond allergy.â€ Shop with mindful retailers to help ensure great products and opportunities to get informed quickly.
4. Shop Online:Â 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.Â Make it Fun:Â 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 shouldnâ€™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.