WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2000 -- A second child has been suffocated by a Pokemon ball container distibuted by Burger King.
T he U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Burger King Corp. are stepping up their recall efforts and urging consumers to immediately destroy and discard the Pokemon balls that were distributed with Burger King kids meals in November and December 1999.
The latest death occurred on January 25, when a 4-month-old boy in Indianapolis, Indiana, suffocated when half of a Pokemon ball that was in his crib became stuck on his face.
In December, a 13-month old girl suffocated in a similar incident. Also in December, an 18-month old girl nearly suffocated. She was saved when her father managed after two attempts to pull the ball half away 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. The company also has set up a toll-free hotline number with information about the recall in both English and Spanish at (800) 775-0625.