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Mattel’s Fisher-Price Recalls Risky Toys, U.S. Says

Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Mattel Inc.’s Fisher-Price subsidiary is recalling almost 11 million toys, including tricycles, after reports of children being cut or choking, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said today.

Fisher-Price notified the agency of certain design and manufacturing flaws, triggering an investigation of company products that found additional defects, said Scott Wolfson, CPSC spokesman. Fisher-Price wanted to do the four resulting recalls at the same time, he said. Mattel, which bought the company in 1993, said in a regulatory filing today that removing the toys will trim 2010 per-share earnings by 1 cent.

The recall is the largest for toys since Congress passed a law two years ago beefing up the product-safety regulator’s powers. Mattel and Fisher-Price were fined $2.3 million in June 2009 for toys violating federal lead-paint laws, at the time the largest civil fine in CPSC history.

The recalls are led by 7 million Fisher-Price tricycles, after 10 injuries were reported when children struck a protruding plastic “ignition key” on the toy, the agency said. East Aurora, New York-based Fisher-Price also is recalling 2.8 million infant toys, including the Baby Playzone Crawl & Cruise, for choking hazards, the CPSC said.

The toymaker will recall 950,000 high chairs after reports of 14 injuries, including seven children who needed stitches and one treated for a tooth injury. The recalls also cover 100,000 toy cars with wheels that may detach, the agency said.

Fisher-Price said in a statement that it has hundreds of millions of products in the marketplace used safely every day, and it’s offering “simple fixes” to allow the recalled toys to be used without danger.

‘Overwhelmingly Safe’

“We want to reassure parents that our products are overwhelmingly safe,” Fisher-Price spokeswoman Juliette Reashor said in an e-mailed statement. “If we see an issue with a product at any point, even after many have been sold and used safely, we take appropriate action.”

Mattel fell 9 cents to $23.46 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading today. The shares have increased 17 percent this year.

The agency urged consumers to stop using the recalled toys immediately and contact Fisher-Price at 1-800-432-5437 for repair kits or replacements.

The consumer-product agency has increased its staff by more than 25 percent and adopted a more aggressive approach in levying fines in the three years since a scare over lead paint in toys imported from China spurred Congress to act.

2007 Recall

Mattel of El Segundo, California, recalled more than 21 million toys in 2007, including Chinese-made products with lead paint that drove Congress to give the CPSC more authority to police the marketplace.

In the Fisher-Price recalls announced today, at least 10 injuries were linked to the company’s Trikes and Tough Trikes toddler tricycles that have a protruding, D-shaped plastic ignition key on which a child can sit or fall, the CPSC said. The tricycles are intended for kids from 2 to 5 years old, the agency said. Units with a flattened key aren’t included in the recall.

Fisher-Price’s recalls cover the Stand ‘n Play Rampway, a toy that lets children push small cars along a track of ramps. There have been two reports of wheels detaching from the cars, posing a choking hazard, the CPSC said.

All four recalls are being conducted by the CPSC with Health Canada.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Plungis in Washington at jplungis@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net

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