Today, cribmaker Jardin announced a 320,000-crib recall. The spindles and slats on their cribs were found to break, entrapping and potentially strangling children.
Not a helpful feature for a structure that’s supposed to keep kids safe.
Recalls are so common that it makes me wonder how thoroughly companies really QA their products. How do manufacturers not realize that their products are dangerous until a certain number of users have been seriously injured? It’s a high price to pay for using cheaper materials, getting a product into production faster, or whatever else motivates a company to toss something into the market with questionable safety considerations.
Here are some other famous recalls:
Braun’s Glass Splinter au Lait. In 1992 and 1996, Braun recalled filters on three types of capucinno/espresso makers. The reason? The filters make glass carafes break.
Burger King’s Chokemon Balls. In 1999, the fast-food giant recalled 25 million Pokemon balls that came in kids’ meals because of a choking hazard.
Firestone’s Ultra Tread-Free Tires. In 2000, Firestone/Bridgestone recalled 6.5 million tires in response to numerous complaints of injury and death. The tread separated from the faulty tires, causing numerous bad accidents in pickup trucks and SUVs.
The Evenflo Baby Acrobatics Assistant. In 2001, baby car seatmaker Evenflo recalled more than 3 million seats. Faulty handles cause the car seat–and the baby inside–to flip unexpectedly.
Disney’s Lead Chic Sunglasses. In 2005, 12,900 pairs of kids’ sunglasses were found to contain unacceptable levels of lead paint, so Disney took them back.
The iFume. Apple recalled 1.1 million laptops after their Sony batteries were found to catch fire. Dell Computer took back 4 million (2006).
The Germburger. In 2007, United Food Group found that some of its beef contained e.coli, so it recalled 5.7 million pounds of ground cow.
And let’s not forget this year’s salmonella-infused tomatoes.
The one upside of all these recalls is that it indicates our market responds to consumer feedback. Granted, injury and death comprise rather extreme forms of feedback. But I can think of numerous countries where companies aren’t held accountable at all–unless the government has enough incentive to throw their executives in jail.
Recalls are a sign that things are working. I just wish they’d work a little better before they end up in our homes.