Millions of Chinese-made toys have been recalled across the United States after they were linked to the deaths of two children. The toys in question are Calico Critters flocked animal figures and sets sold with bottle and pacifier accessories. According to a notice published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the accessories pose a choking hazard to children. The notice states that Epoch Everlasting Play LLC, a New Jersey-based company that imports the products, is recalling over 3.2 million units.
The products were sold at Walmart, Meijer and other retailers around America and online at calicocritters.com and Amazon.com from January 2000 through December 2021 for prices between $10 and $80.
The CPSC has asked parents to remove the recalled bottle and pacifier accessories immediately and to contact Epoch Everlasting Play LLC for instructions on submitting a photo of the recalled items, along with contact information and confirmation of destruction, to receive a free replacement accessory.
Epoch Everlasting Play LLC acknowledged three incidents involving the pacifier accessory, including the two reported deaths. One fatal incident involved a 2-year-old child in 2018 in New Mexico, and the other fatal incident involved a 9-month-old child in 2015 in Japan. The report noted that Epoch Japan distributed the toy involved in the death in Japan.
This recall highlights the continuing problem of product safety in the global supply chain. While Chinese-made toys have been a popular choice for consumers due to their affordability, the lack of oversight and regulation in Chinese manufacturing can result in dangerous products being sold to unsuspecting consumers. The CPSC says it has been vigilant in identifying and recalling hazardous products but acknowledged that it is ultimately up to the companies to ensure the safety of their products and the protection of their consumers.
Epoch Everlasting Play LLC has taken responsibility for the recall. Still, it remains to be seen how this will impact the company’s reputation and bottom line. The recall of over 3.2 million units is likely to be a costly exercise, and the negative publicity may deter consumers from purchasing Epoch’s products in the future.