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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas recalls

As consumer demand for children’s toys grows at Christmas so too does the volume of recalls. As expected, the recall table is packed with children’s items that have been deemed unfit for purpose by countries across Europe.

Of the 36 alerts and notifications in Week 51, 27 were for items used by/for children and this is a worrying trend that we have seen for many years now.

Among the items on this recall table were a soother holder, two safety gates and a baby’s cot. All four of these products were deemed a serious risk. Interestingly, only one – the soother holder - was counterfeit.

Both the safety gates were legitimate products that were sold online but failed to comply with the relevant European safety standards – EN 1930. One was recalled due to the integrity of the automatic locking system which could result in a child passing through the opening and falling down the stairs.

The other gate’s defects were different. This one featured plastic studs that could detach and become a life-threatening choking hazard for a child.

One stair gate with an automated opening issue was widely covered by media after this recent notice was posted on the Rapid Alert System for Non-Food Products (RAPEX).

Which? – an organisation that reviews products and services for the public to help them make the best purchasing decisions – reviewed and tested this exact product in April 2020 and spotted then that it was flawed.

Which? was quick to pick up on this recall notice because of previous experience with it and ran a follow-up article amplifying the recall beyond RAPEX. While the increased exposure helps the manufacturer recall items, it also causes reputational harm which will last for some time.

The company behind the products has two designs in this line and is working hard to protect its reputation and ensure that customers know the defect isn’t a problem across all its products.

No brand or product is immune to the risk of recalls whether it is toys, childcare products, automotive, food and drink, electrical goods or pharmaceuticals. Having robust processes in place is crucial, not only to protect the organisation and its products but to also provide peace of mind to consumers.

The fact that countries across Europe and the rest of the world are also working together to ensure only the best products reach consumers is something the public and retailers can take comfort in.

As we approach the festive season, we anticipate another surge of alerts in toys and childcare products, however, like times gone by, we will see a decline as we move into Q1 2021.

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