aKID’s annual recall reports from the last two years have shown that child product recalls are worryingly inefficient. Only 14% of all 2013 recalled children’s products were successfully corrected or destroyed. For comparison, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has an average recall completion rate of 65%.

The annual reports also brought to light issues with records that included quite a bit of missing information and mathematical errors. This poses a serious problem as these records are the only information we have on how effective child product recalls are.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) agrees with KID that these are important problems. And they are going to do something about it.

KID and the CPSC have been talking about some of these issues. The CPSC was able to explain some of the missing reports. For instances, children’s clothes can’t have drawstrings as they pose a strangulation risk. However, since most people just cut out the strings, the CPSC doesn’t normally keep records on how many of these recalled products have been brought back.

However, there were still some unexplained missing reports and incorrectly filled out reports. The CPSC has a plan to fix this.

The CPSC’s solution revolves around streamlining and reviewing the Monthly Progress Report (MPR) system. When companies put out a recall they fill out MPRs. The MPR helps the CPSC keep track of incidents, injuries, and deaths after the recall as well as how many recalled products are still on store shelves and consumers’ homes.

Therefore the CPSC is going to make the MPRs downloadable for companies on SaferProducts.gov. This will make sure that companies have an easy way to access the necessary forms. They are also going to manually and automatically review their databases to make sure that MPRs are received. And once they have the MPRs they will review the forms to figure out which recalls should take priority and come up with new corrective action measures to get dangerous products out of consumer hands.

The CPSC is also reaching out to other agencies like the NHTSA to figure out how they can make their recalls more effective. Already the CPSC has decided to institute their own version of the NHTSA’s “Nag Factor”. The CPSC will send increasingly urgent letters to companies that aren’t following through with their recall plans.

KID is happy that the CPSC is working toward more effective recalls. We all have a long way to go before we get 100%, but this is a good step. And if you want to be proactive, then sign up for KID email alerts at our homepage.