The public health challenge of consumer non-compliance to toy product recalls and proposed solutions

Academic Article


  • This paper addresses the public health issue of toy product recalls in the United States, an under-addressed topic in scholarly literature, yet highly relevant to the prevention of pediatric injuries. Toy-related injuries led to 274,000 emergency room visits and seven fatalities in 2016 in the United States, and toy-related injury rates have remained stable over the last five years despite declining incidences of recalls. While dangerous toys not being recalled and the misuse of “safe” products are possible contributing factors, consumer non-response to recall notices also contributes to unintentional child injury from dangerous toys. We discuss the process of recalling toys, and the role of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in that process. We also review potential factors behind significant consumer non-response to recall notifications, citing economic and psychological theories as explanations for the actions of multiple stakeholders in the recall process. We close by proposing reforms at the regulatory, consumer, and retailer levels that might boost compliance with recall notifications and ultimately reduce injury morbidity and mortality.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Yu X; Schwebel DC
  • Volume

  • 15
  • Issue

  • 3