Originally created 04/15/04

Government alerts parents to two big toy recalls



WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of thousands of Batman Batmobiles by Mattel are being recalled after reports that more than a dozen children have been hurt by the toys, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Wednesday.

Mattel, based in El Segundo, Calif., agreed to recall 314,000 of the blue-and-gray toy cars. The rear tail wings of the Batmobile are made of a hard plastic that rises to a sharp point and poses a hazard to young children, the safety commission said.

The CPSC also is recalling some 70,000 ride-on toy trucks by Tek Nek Toys International of Grapevine, Texas. CPSC said the screw and nut assembly attaching the steering wheel to the toy can come loose, posing a potential choking hazard. The company has received a report that an 18-month-old boy died after ingesting a screw that became caught in his lungs.

According to the commission, Mattel has received 14 reports of cuts, scrapes and other injuries from the Batmobiles. Four of the injuries required medical treatment.

The agency announced the toy recalls as it launched an awareness campaign about older recalled products that may still be lurking in consumers' homes. Among some of the biggest hidden hazards: children's jackets with drawstrings that present a strangulation danger and baby cribs that do not meet federal safety standards.

"It is often the oldest products that present the most serious hazards," said CPSC chairman Hal Stratton. "Hand-me downs and old children's products may have sentimental value to parents and consumers, but more importantly they may no longer be safe to use."

Stratton also urged resale, consignment and thrift stores to check their stocks to make certain that these older products aren't being sold to consumers.

The Batmobiles were sold for about $30 at retail and toy stores nationwide from June 2003 to this past February. Parents are advised to take the toys away from children and contact Mattel at 888-271-9891 for free replacement wings.

The ride-on toys by Tek Nek were sold for about $30 nationwide beginning in December of 2002. They were bought under five model names: Butterfly Girl, Fire Rescue, Mermaid, Police Car and Tonka Construction Crew.

Consumers can contact the company at 888-661-0222 for free replacement parts.

On the Net:

Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov

Mattel: http://www.mattel.com

Tek Nek: http://www.teknektoys.com