The recall earlier this month of a line of inflatable pool slides sold at Walmart and Toys ‘R’ Us following the death of one woman and devastating injuries to two others highlights the stakes when it comes to product safety.
But with history as a guide, the dangers of the Banzai Inflatable Pool Slides will be ignored or dismissed by most of those who have one. It’s common in recalls for well under 10% of the products deemed dangerous to be either returned or repaired.
“We know that the majority of products that are recalled remain in consumers’ homes,” says Nancy Cowles, executive director of the Chicago-based safety advocacy group Kids in Danger.
An example: In February, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall of more than 200,000 furnaces — the same ones that had been recalled eight years earlier because they had a propensity to start fires. About 93% of the nearly 400 reported incidents happened after the recall.
The reasons why people leave recalled products in their homes are varied, from a lack of awareness to a decision that just because something happened to someone else doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to them. For some, hearing about hundreds of recalls each year can reduce the safety notices to background noise. The result is people getting hurt by defective products long after the dangers have been made public.
(PHOTOS: Infant Deaths Prompt Baby Sling Recall)
Manufacturers, retailers and the government itself all can do better in terms of alerting the public to product dangers, Cowles says. Parents, in particular, have a higher obligation to check on recalled products their children might still be using. It’s easy to search recalls here.
“Parents should check the products they use with their children against the list of recalls and remove them from use,” Cowles says. “We can’t protect our children from everything, but we can take action on products that have already proven dangerous.”
The stakes are too high for people to continue to ignore recalls, says Patty Davis, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“Once you know about a recall, take advantage of the refund, replacement or a repair that is offered,” she says. “Remove the hazard from your home so your family is not injured by the recalled product.”
Here are 10 dangerous products, all of which have been recalled, that you might still have in your home.
Next LG Dehumidifiers