Toys 'R' Us, Inc. has unveiled a national program that gives customers the opportunity to trade-in used cribs, car seats and other baby products in exchange for savings on a new item.
The "Great Trade-In" event is designed to call attention to the fact that, due to safety concerns, certain used baby products, such as car seats and cribs, are not the best candidates to be handed down or resold.
Safety experts have recently reported that sales of used products are on the rise and are warning consumers to be cautious about purchasing second-hand children's items. The trade-in event puts an emphasis on specific old or second-hand baby products that may be potentially unsafe, but are still in circulation.
The consumer advocacy organization Kids In Danger (KID), says that, in general, less than 30% of affected items are returned when a baby product is recalled. Beyond recalls, certain older and used baby products can raise other concerns. This could include products that have been damaged or others where advances in product safety have rendered older models non-compliant with the latest standards.
"In today's economy, we are all looking for ways to stretch our dollars, but in doing so, children's safety should not be compromised," said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys 'R' Us, Inc. "We hope this program will help raise awareness of the importance of being vigilant about potentially unsafe children's items that may still be in the marketplace, while encouraging customers to use the 'Great Trade-In' event as an opportunity to remove used baby products, such as cribs and car seats, from their garages and attics."
During the "Great Trade-In" event, which begins Friday, August 28 and continues through Sunday, September 20, all Babies"R"Us and Toys 'R' Us locations nationwide will accept returns of any used cribs, car seats, bassinets, strollers, travel systems, play yards and high chairs in exchange for a 20 percent savings on the purchase of any new baby item, in any of these product categories, from select manufacturers.
The New York State Consumer Protection Board is commending Toys "R" Us, Inc., and its participating suppliers, for launching its "Great Trade-In Program" to help remove unsafe items from homes, community centers, the marketplace and other locations.
"The incentive program sets a good example of how retailers can make a difference in our efforts to help keep children safe by raising awareness and offering consumers the occasion to drop off their no-longer-safe-for-use items at their Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores nationwide," said Mindy A. Bockstein, executive director of CPB.
Safety agencies, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), have noted that it continues to be challenging to get dangerous products out of the home following a product recall. The CPSC advises parents to check its website to make sure a product has not been recalled before using or purchasing it second-hand. In addition, parents should be aware that used baby products can raise other safety concerns. For example:
Federal and voluntary standards and regulations for safety testing, particularly for cribs, have changed significantly over the past few years, and older products may not have been produced to meet these stringent requirements;
Car seats can sustain damage in an accident that may not be visible to the naked eye, but could prevent the seat from functioning properly;
Car seats have expiration dates, as the materials can deteriorate over time, potentially making the car seat less effective in a crash. Parents can check with the car seat manufacturer to determine the recommended period of use for a particular car seat;
Certain baby products, particularly car seats, are regularly introduced with new innovations in technology that can improve the products' safety efficacy;
Products made of or that contain certain materials, like wood and plastic, for example, can deteriorate when exposed to extreme weather conditions, like heat, potentially compromising safety integrity; and
Parts or instruction books for proper assembly, installation or use may be missing.
It can be difficult for consumers to determine whether used baby products are safe, and with so many ways to purchase used products, it's important for parents to be informed and vigilant when making purchasing decisions. And, because consumers often do not know the history of a second-hand baby product, leading safety organizations such as Safe Kids USA recommend not purchasing used car seats, for example. Additionally, the CPSC advocates not purchasing used items that have a history of safety problems, including cribs, play yards and bassinets.
Manufacturers participating in the "Great Trade-In" event include Baby Cache, Babi Italia, Baby Trend, Bertini, Britax, Chicco, Contours by Kolcraft, Cosco, Delta, Eddie Bauer, Evenflo, Graco, Jeep, Nature's Purest by Summer Infant, Safety 1st and Sorelle.