The Law Blog of Oklahoma

Has That Been Recalled? 3 Easy Ways to Find Out About Product Recalls

Posted: Friday, March 14, 2014


Each year, thousands of products are subject to voluntary or federal recall. In 2011, there were more than 2,300 product recalls affecting millions of consumer products—an average of 6.5 recalls per day. According to a USA Today report, this number indicated a 14 percent increase over the previous year. In 2007, just four years prior, there were only 1,460 product recalls—nearly a thousand fewer.

Consumer safety experts say the increase in recalls is not a reflection of more dangerous products on the marketplace, but rather improvements in government regulations and oversight, product testing, quality control measures, and even social media, where consumers quickly go public with problems associated with a particular consumer good.

But how do you find out if the product you are using, the medication you are taking, or the automobile you are driving has been recalled? In many cases, your product came with a warranty card. If you completed and mailed in the card, then you will be notified in the event of a recall.

There are a couple of problems with relying on the above method, though. First, how often do consumers actually submit the warranty card? Many people do not expect to need to rely on the warranty for, say, a toaster, and they simply toss the card that comes with it. They don’t realize that the information on the card may allow a manufacturer to contact them in case of a problem. Furthermore, if a company goes out of business or a consumer moves, the contact information could be lost or become invalid.

As stated above, social media can be a good tool for spreading news of dangerous and defective products. It can be a useful tool in researching a product before you buy. However, unless your Facebook friend has the exact same toaster you do, and unless faulty wiring on that toaster caused a fire in your friend’s home, you likely won’t find out on social media about the recalls that are relevant to you.

Who is at Risk?

According to the CPSC, there were 11 toy-related deaths to children under the age of 12 in 2012; emergency rooms provided care to 265,000 children for toy-related injuries that same year. There were also nearly 78,000 emergency room visits by infants and children under 5 related to nursery products, and an average of 111 babies and children under 5 die of injuries related to nursery products. Nearly 70 percent of these deaths are associated with cribs, mattresses, bassinets, cradles, playpens or play yards, infant carriers, baby baths, and bath seats.

Children are not the only ones vulnerable to harm from consumer products. Each year, more than 2 million adults aged 65 or older visit hospital emergency room for treatment of injuries associated with consumer goods. While children and seniors may be at significant risk of harm, anyone in any age group can be injured by a defective product.

When your family is at risk, you don’t have time to wait for a manufacturer to mail you a warning or recall notice. You don’t have hours to scour the internet looking for recall information for every product you own. You need information, and you need it as soon as it is available.

Best Sources for Recall Information

Fortunately, you don’t have to dedicate all of your free time to researching product recall information. There are three easy ways to receive notification of consumer product recalls:

  1. Recalls.gov – Recalls.gov is “Your Online Resource for Recalls” from the federal government. This website compiles recall data from several federal agencies, including the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and others.  At Recalls.gov, you can view a list of recent recalls, search for recalls by product, or sign up for email alerts from one or more of the aforementioned agencies.
  2. CPSC email alerts – The CPSC is the government agency charged with oversight of consumer products. Typically, when a person has an issue with a baby product, dangerous toy, household product, vehicle, or other consumer good, he or she should report the incident to the CPSC. The agency lists recall information on its website and also provides safety information regarding dangerous products that have not been recalled. While you can certainly view the recall notices on the website at anytime or follow the agency on Twitter, it can help to sign up for email alerts about product recalls. To sign up, just click here, enter your email address, select the notices you would like to receive, and click “Submit.” You can opt to receive emailed recall notices for infant/child products, sport and recreation products, products used outdoors, household products, specialty products, or any combination of the above. Recall notices are sent at the end of each day.
  3. The CPSC recall widget on the Law Firm of Oklahoma website - We want to be a resource for you, offering the tools you need to stay safe and protected from dangerous and defective products. While we are honored that our clients trust us to help them get compensation for their injuries through a product liability lawsuit, we would prefer that our friends and neighbors never had to endure such harm. Stay advised with the recall notices listed on our products liability page, and know that if something happens, we are here for you every step of the way.

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