I sincerely thank Nancy Cowles and the staff at Kids In Danger (KID) for their commitment to child safety and improving the effectiveness of product recalls. CPSC takes the responsibility of removing dangerous products off store shelves and out of homes very seriously, and I am proud of the work our staff does.
In this year’s report, KID highlighted a number of positive developments. One of these is the increased use of social media to raise awareness of recalls. I am pleased to see this trend and look for it to continue.
There is one aspect of the report that particularly concerns me. KID traditionally focuses only on those recalls that involve children’s products. For that reason, its analysis can be greatly affected by how particular recalls are characterized. For example, this year’s report includes recalls of clothing storage units as “children’s products.” This has the effect of including a very large 2016 recall even though many of those products may be in households without any children.
We should always be looking for creative ways to make recalls more effective, whether they involve children’s products or not. I am committed to working with KID and other stakeholders to discuss and advance ideas about the best ways to define and measure recall effectiveness, improve the recall process, and motivate consumers to take action when they are affected by a recall. Recall effectiveness is a longstanding challenge; to make enduring improvements will take an extended effort. The process should be a collaborative one between our agency, recalling companies, invested stakeholders, and consumers, because all of us share the common goal of getting unsafe products out of the stream of commerce and consumers’ homes.