Despite a company’s best intentions, faulty and dangerous products still hit marketplace shelves. Even seemingly innocuous goods you could never imagine causing harm may turn out to pose inadvertent hazards to you and your family.
Where to turn if you have the misfortune of encountering a product like this? www.SaferProducts.gov
This website is a clearinghouse of information on all things related to recalls and product hazards. Here you can file a report about your own incident with an unsafe product, or search its database to see if others have had similar problems. Since its launch last March, over 6,300 reports of safety concerns have been posted.
Once a claim has been made, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) contacts companies to let them know a consumer had filed a report about one of their products, and gives the companies a chance to provide a response to the complaint.
By reporting any unsafe products, you can help companies and the CPSC identify potential ‘red flags’ on the market that may need to be investigated or recalled. Our own perusing of the database turned up many reports of children injured from a liquid-filled ball that burst open, dousing them in chemicals and leading to emergency room visits. Another repeat offender seems to be a mechanized doll whose battery pack overheats, causing the product and batteries to become hot to the touch. Smoking and fire-catching dishwashers constitute a surprising (and frightening) number of complaints.
We hope you never have to report an unsafe item, but the reality is that most of us – or one of our family members – will probably encounter products that are hazardous enough to warn others about. Keep www.SaferProducts.gov in mind, and encourage others to report their own experiences as well.