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In Wake of Second Death, CPSC and Burger King Again Urge Consumers to Destroy and Discard Pokemon Balls

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Recall Date:
January 27, 2000

Recall Details

January 27, 2000
Release # 00-058
Company Phone Number: (305) 378-3535
CPSC Consumer Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: Ken Giles, (301) 504-7052
Burger King Contact: Kim Miller or Charles Nicolas, (305) 378-7277

In Wake of Second Death, CPSC and Burger King Again Urge Consumers to Destroy and Discard Pokemon Balls

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Burger King Corp. are again urging consumers to immediately destroy and discard Pokemon balls distributed with Burger King kids meals in November and December 1999. On January 25, 2000, a 4-month-old boy in Indianapolis, Ind., reportedly suffocated when one-half of a Pokemon ball that was in his crib became stuck on his face.

Burger King Corp., in cooperation with CPSC, issued a voluntary recall of more than 25 million Pokemon balls on December 27, 1999. The balls pose a suffocation hazard to children under three years of age.

In December, a 13-month old girl reportedly suffocated when one-half of a Pokemon ball covered her nose and mouth. Also in December, an 18-month old girl nearly suffocated when a ball-half got stuck over her face. On the second attempt, the girl's father was able to pull the ball-half from her face.

Pokemon balls are plastic, ball-shaped containers between 2.75 and 3 inches in diameter. They pull apart to reveal one of 57 different Pokemon toys inside. The balls were distributed in a variety of colors including red and white, and hot pink. Packaging described them as safety tested and recommended for all ages of children.

Burger King restaurants nationwide distributed the Pokemon balls inside Burger King big kids meals and regular kids meals from early November through December 1999.

Consumers should immediately take the balls away from children under the age of three. They should discard the ball or return both halves of the ball and the clip to a Burger King restaurant for a free order of small fries. Children can continue to use the Pokemon toy that came inside the ball.

As part of the voluntary recall effort, more than 8,100 Burger King restaurants posted recall notices in both English and Spanish. When the recall was first announced, Burger King placed an ad in USA Today, and CPSC broadcast a video news release so local television stations could use video tape showing the danger. CPSC Chairman Ann Brown also announced the recall on the Today Show reaching millions of viewers.

In addition, Burger King worked with the CPSC to send recall notices to 56,000 pediatricians' offices, 10,000 emergency room directors and 25,000 emergency health care clinics across the country. Notices were posted on the CPSC and Burger King web sites, and on web sites frequented by Pokemon fans and parents. Recall notices will be posted on tray liners, carry-out bags and french fry bags as well.

Burger King also will purchase national cable and network television advertisements to alert consumers to the recall. Burger King's Consumer Relations phone number is 305-378-3535, which operates Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. east coast time.

Consumers can also view a video clip about this recall (Transcript). It is about 6 megabytes long and the download time depends upon the speed of your Internet connection.

Pokemon Balls

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About the U.S. CPSC

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years.

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