Millions Of "Pot Belly" Toy Animals Being Recalled To Eliminate Safety Hazards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
October 31, 1980  
Release # 80-039
 

Millions Of "Pot Belly" Toy Animals Being Recalled To Eliminate Safety Hazards

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 31) -- The highly popular "Pot Belly" line of children's stuffed animals is being recalled by the importer in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission because the toys may present hazards which could injure young children.

More than five million of the five different types of "Pot Bellies" have been sold nationwide in a variety of sizes since late in 1978. Pot Bellies are distributed to more than 2,800 toy stores, department stores and other retailers by the Daekor division of Hudson Brands, Ltd., of New York City.

CPSC has received a number of consumer complaints of small wires protruding from the toy animals; however, there have been no reports of serious injuries to date. Testing by CPSC revealed that a substantial percentage of the toys tested contained sharp wires in the stuffing.

When tested under the terms of a CPSC regulation designed to prevent children under the age of three years from swallowing and choking on small parts of toys, some of the Pot Bellies failed the test. Accordingly, these stuffed toys -- until inspected by the importer to ensure their safety -- have been determined to be "banned hazardous substances" under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. Once inspected and found free of wires, the toys may be distributed.

CPSC also discovered through testing that the "bean bag" variety of smaller Pot Bellies presents another hazard in addition to the potential presence of small wires. The bottoms of bean bag Pot Bellies are stuffed with crushed walnut shells which could be swallowed by children if the toy animals come apart at the seams (as some did during the CPSC testing).

Consumers are being urged to return their Pot Belly stuffed animals to the retailer where the toy was purchased for a full refund or replacement. Pot Bellies have been sold at retail prices ranging from $8 to $30, depending on their size. Refunds only are being offered to consumers who return bean bag Pot Bellies to the retailer.

(The importer also has distributed about 5,000 large Pot Belly koala bears and brown bears which are not being subjected to the ban or the recall. These 40-inch-long bears were manufactured by a Brooklyn, N.Y., company which used a different stuffing material.) Hudson Brands will alert each retailer to the hazards and the procedures to be followed in carrying out the recall and inspection program, and also will inspect all further shipments of these toy animals to ensure that there are no wires in the stuffing.