Learn about product recalls for safe holiday giving
Shopping for the perfect gift and then hiding it under the tree adds to the excitement of the holiday season. Knowing the recipient will display a big smile when tearing away the wrapping paper makes gift givers feel good. Each year, certain gifts emerge as trendy crowd favorites. However, no matter how coveted a gift may be, it pays to investigate its reputation for safety and to find out if any product recalls have been instituted. The hoverboard craze of the 2015 holiday season provided a recent example of the need to investigate an item’s reputation for safety. Thousands upon thousands of these devices flew off of the shelves. Children across the country took their hoverboards for test runs early Christmas morning. Yet many hoverboards soon ignited while charging or in operation. Some even ignited while sitting idle. As of July 2016, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission indicated at least 60 reports of hoverboard fires totaling more than $2 million in property damage. Similar problems arose with certain Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones in late 2016. The phone was recalled officially in the United States through Samsung, and the company launched exchange programs in other countries. Even replacement models continued to have problems, as some caught on fire in early October. Samsung ultimately told Note 7 owners to stop using the phones and return them before permanently discontinuing the product. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. CPSC officially issued a second recall. Those are just two instances of how products that might have made great holiday gifts posed safety issues. Consumers should learn how they can protect themselves and others from injury, even when giving holiday gifts. Searching for product recalls is one way to safeguard loved ones this holiday season. Reading product reviews from previous customers is another effective safety measure. A recall is an action taken by a manufacturer or the government. Some recalls will ban the sale of an item, while others require the consumer to return the item for repair or replacement. The U.S. government recommends visiting these websites to find the latest safety recalls and information on items that may turn up on holiday wish lists. • Recalls.com posts government-initiated recalls from federal agencies. • Safercar.gov offers safety information on vehicles and car equipment, such as children’s safety seats. • SaferProducts.gov enables consumers to report incidents and safety concerns with regard to consumer products. • Cpsc.gov/Recalls/ includes recalls published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The holidays should be a safe and happy time. To ensure the season stays safe and happy, consumers should familiarize themselves with any product recalls or published safety hazards prior to shopping for gifts.