Parents should consult another list when holiday shopping for children – the Health Canada list of items subject to recalls.
Toys and clothes are common gifts, but both pose common problems, based on a review of the most recent entries on the Health Canada list of banned products. Numerous toys have small items that detach easily (either on purpose, or by accident) and the fragments pose choking hazards. Drawstrings on children’s clothing are frequently cited because of the risks they could accidentally get caught on equipment, fences and possibly even result in strangulation or a child being dragged by a moving car.
There are other problems to be sure, books recalled because of mould, Hallowe’en toys recalled due to potential burn hazards, tractors that can cut you and unicorn poop or slime suckers that have too much boric acid.
The online database is searchable, which is particularly important because there is no guarantee that a Health Canada recall notice will make products disappear from store shelves or web sites.
Health Canada provides a number of twitter feeds, email notifications and mobile apps to help consumers stay aware of recalls and warnings. It has a Consumer Product Incident Report Form for consumers who have experienced health or safety incidents.
Consumers who may be worried safety regulators are not giving product safety problems the attention they deserve can also share their experiences online at the Consumers Council of Canada homepage.