October 26, 1979  
Release # 79-060

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 26) -- Approximately 180,000 "Soft Shot Star Launcher" blow-gun toys which may pose a choking hazard to children are being recalled voluntarily by their manufacturer, the Western Publishing Company, of Racine, Wisconsin.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The toy consists of a white plastic tube and mouthpiece which measure approximately 29 inches in overall length. It is sold with three small cardboard targets and three orange darts molded of soft vinyl, each approximately three inches long.

The company is recalling the toys based on consumer reports since July, 1979, of three children who choked on the toy's mouthpiece. In each instance, the mouthpiece reportedly separated from the plastic tube and lodged in the child's throat. No critical injury or illness resulted from any of these incidents, according to the company.

A fourth similar incident was reported to CPSC and is being investigated by Commission staff. The company reported to CPSC that, despite the potential hazard, the toy meets or exceeds all existing voluntary product safety standards.

Model number 4990 is printed on the toy's package, although the toy itself and its components do not display any distinguishing identification.

Manufactured and distributed earlier this year, the toy sold for approximately $2 in toy stores and other variety retail stores nationwide. The manufacturer has directed all retailers and distributors of the toys to stop sales.

Parents should return the toy to the retailer from which it was purchased to receive a cash refund. Consumers also can obtain refunds (including reimbursement for postage costs) by mailing the toys to: Western Publishing Company, 1220 Mound Avenue, Racine, Wisconsin, 53404, Attention: Customer Relations Director.