January 16, 2008

Optimistic CPSC Chairwoman Pronounces Recall Glass "Not 95.5% Empty, 4.5% Full!"

Looks like we missed CPSC Chairwoman Nancy Nord's speech last week at the National Press Club, the one where she criticized the media for its "near-hysteria" and "hoopla" over the record-setting number of product recalls in 2007. In fact, Nord explained, thanks in no small part to all the effective recalls, consumer products generally and toys specifically "are safer than they have ever been."

Oh, ARE they?

Consumer Reports takes issue with some of Nord's claims, but this example of how ineffective recall announcements are jumped out at me:

Last year's recall of one million Simplicity and Graco branded cribs for a design flaw that led to at least two deaths and seven infant entrapments. A month after the highly publicized recall, only about 45,000 customers had requested a repair kit for the crib. That is a pathetic response rate that proves more needs to be done to prevent recalls in the first place.
Only 45,000 repair kits? That sucks. Unless we follow Acting Chairwoman Nord's example, and look on the bright side:
  • Those 1mm cribs were sold over 10 years, from 1997-2007. Realistically, how many of them are even still in existence? Half?
  • How many are in use or still have the potential for being used?
  • Remember, the deadly problem with the crib was due to incorrect assembly, installing the dropside upside down. How often does that happen? How many people have checked and flipped their incorrectly installed cribrail?
  • Graco/Simplicity's fix, instigated in 2007, was to label the TOP and BOTTOM of the cribrail. Please tell me the repair kit actually consists of more than a set of stickers? [Answer: It does. It's a new bracket that immobilizes the dropside cribrail.]

    Eyeball some assumptions, fluff some numbers, bitchslap some reporters, and suddenly, the recall that the inactive CPSC was shamed into making by the Chicago Tribune's own investigations is transformed into its most responsivesafety effort og the year! Cribs have never been as safe as they are right now!

    Nancy Nord, CPSC Chairwoman, Looks Forward -- And Back consumerreports.org via consumerist]
    Repair Kits Ready To Be Sent To Parents and Caregivers With Recalled Simplicity Cribs [cpsc.gov]

    Previously: 1 mm cribs recalled--without a repair kit ready, because the Trib was preparing a damning story

  • 1 Comment

    Hoopla and hysteria of the media? How about less blame on the media and more hoopla and hysteria about our seeming inability to stop excessive lead levels in paint on our kid's toys?

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