Because there is no end to the list of things toddlers will try to put in their mouth, small detachable parts of household goods pose risks of choking to small children.
At least 12 products have been recalled since February, according to Health Canada notifications, because of the choking risks they pose to children. Most of the risks originate in children’s toys and apparel. For example, the string that connects wooden teether rings can break, releasing the wooden beads, potentially choking teething tots. Or the handle on Lovevery drinking cups can detach, posing the same risk. The maracas in the Crate and Kids Be the Band music set can split apart or become unscrewed, with the metal beads inside the maracas thus becoming accessible to children.
However, some of the choking hazards can arise from other products. The bells that are part of Mid-fusion Crew Socks may detach, creating a potential choking hazard. And certain side-by-side Frigidaire and Electrolux refrigerators sold through major appliance retailers were also recalled because the ice level detector arm could break into pieces and fall into the ice bucket.
One other notable recent recall involves a “multi-function emergency tool”, recalled because of the potential to fail during an emergency. The battery-operated tool with UPC 7621640108555 sold by Princess Auto features an LED light, a seat belt cutter, a window breaker and a torch light, all with a magnet base. It’s designed to provide multiple forms of assistance in emergencies. Unless, of course, the end with the seat belt cutter comes off because the plastic threads on the battery compartment were not properly moulded, thus preventing the tool from being used correctly in an emergency.
Health Canada’s online database is searchable, which is important because there is no guarantee that a Health Canada recall notice will make products disappear from store shelves or web sites.
Health Canada also provides a number of Twitter feeds, email notifications and mobile apps to help consumers stay aware of recalls and warnings. There is a Consumer Product Incident Report Form for consumers who have experienced health or safety incidents.