How to Stay on Top of Safety Recalls

Consumer protection

Safety RecallsFrom recent drop-side crib recalls to last year’s Toyota brake fiasco, product recalls happen all too often. Some products may be recalled only to get a safety sticker slapped on the side (i.e. the baby Bumbo chair after babies started falling off of tables while sitting in the plastic seat). Whether a product has caused harm, could cause harm, is defective, or simply doesn’t comply with safety standards, it will be recalled and refunds or means for free safety updates will be made available.

A company with a recalled product isn’t going to contact you when their product you bought is recalled; finding out about recalls is your job. The everyday consumer or parent may stay on top of safety recalls to protect themselves or their kids; as a caregiver or business owner, however, not being safety-savvy could land you in a big legal mess. Here’s how to stay ahead of the game on recalled products.

Getting Recall Information

You don’t have to wait to discover recalls until they make headlines; the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) quickly report recalled products so you know to avoid buying, selling, or using products that could be harmful. If you identify a product hazard, you may report unsafe items to the CPSC at

Food and Drugs

Before you serve a meal at your daycare or restaurant, check on food recalls and related outbreaks. The FDA is obviously the best resource; you can even subscribe to their email list or Facebook page to be alerted when outbreaks or recalls occur. The FDA’s website is also the best place to check up on recalls, market withdrawals, and safety alerts for food, drugs, pet food, medical devices, and cosmetics. Recalls older than 60 days are archived ten years back.

Children’s Products

Lest someone should lose a finger while packing up a stroller, check BabyCenter’s Product Recall Finder  to search recalled baby products by category (strollers, high chairs, car seats, swings, toys, clothing, etc.). Parents will want to check this website often, but caregivers should also stay on top of recalls for obvious liability reasons. If a child chokes on a recalled toy at your day care facility, you could be held liable.


To find out if there have been issues with a vehicle you own or are considering for purchase, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a good resource (  If your car is recalled, you can go directly to your dealer to find out what to do, or call the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236. The NHTSA is also a fantastic resource for checking up on child car safety laws, like who needs what kind of car seat or booster seat at what height, weight, and age.

Recalls are messy, but there is never an excuse to be unaware of them, especially when you are a business owner.  Keep your customers, your children, and yourself safe and out of legal trouble by subscribing to recall news.