Agency reminds Americans that dangerous recalled products may still be in their homes

Wednesday, April 17th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The government hopes Americans involved in spring cleaning will check for a dozen dangerous products that have been recalled but may still lurk in millions of homes.

The federal government's product safety agency on Wednesday issued a reminder of several particularly hazardous products that have previously been recalled. Officials aim to persuade people to take a fresh look at items in their households and toss out or repair any recalled products they find.

Most of the products have been involved in the deaths of children, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

``We can get dangerous products off store shelves, but the real challenge is to get them out of families' homes,'' said Thomas Moore, acting CPSC chairman.

The agency said:

_GE and Hotpoint dishwashers made by General Electric Appliances Co. between 1983 and 1989 present a fire hazard, because a slide switch can melt and ignite. Consumers can call the company for a free rewiring at 1-800-599-2929.

_Whirlpool and Kenmore dishwashers sold between June 1991 and October 1992 can catch fire if the wiring in the door latch overheats. Whirlpool Corp. can be reached at 1-800-874-9481 to set up free repair.

_Children can be strangled by window blinds that have pull cords and inner cords which can form loops. In 1995, the industry eliminated pull cord loops on new window blinds, but the 85 million sold each year before then must be repaired. A free repair kit can be obtained from the Window Covering Safety Council by calling 1-800-506-4636 or visiting

_Halogen torchiere floor lamps sold before 1997 without wire or glass guards over the bulbs can cause fires if flammable items such as drapes come too close. A consumer can get a wire guard by sending a postcard to Catalina Lighting Consumer Services, 18191 NW 68th Ave., Miami, Fla. 33015.

_Ten brands of playpens with V-shaped folded top rails can collapse and entrap a child. A new industry standard requires top rails to automatically lock into place when the pen is fully set up, instead of requiring people to turn the rails into place. The brands recalled were Evenflo's Happy Camper, Happy Cabana and Kiddie Camper; Century's Fold-N-Go models 10-710 and 10-810; Baby Trend's Home and Roam and Baby Express; Kolcraft's Playskool Travel-Lite; and All Our Kids models 742 and 762, imported by a firm that went out of business.

_Cosco playpen models Zip n Go, Okie Dokie and Carters have plastic tabs that lock rails into the corners. The tabs can break or loosen over time, causing the rails to turn inward, collapse and trap an infant. There were 102,000 of the playpens sold from May 1995 to December 1999. Dorel Juvenile Group, which recalled the playpens, will issue refunds or replace them when consumers call 1-800-314-9327 or visit

_Lane and Virginia Maid brand cedar chests made between 1912 and 1987 have lids that automatically lock when closed, posing a suffocation hazard to children who may get trapped inside. Lane Furniture Industries, which can be reached at 1-888-856-8758 or, offers a free replacement lock.

_Older cribs with more than 2 3/8 inches between slats, corner posts or cutouts on the headboard or footboard can entrap, strangle or suffocate children, as can cribs with missing parts. Consumers should discard these older cribs in favor of a model that meets new safety standards developed by industry and government.

_Chest freezers made between 1945 and 1970 have heavy lids that latch, posing a suffocation hazard to children inside. The freezers should be thrown out, or the latches should be removed. Consumers can call 1-800-267-3138 or visit

_Hair dryers without immersion protection devices can cause electric shock if dropped in water. Those sold since the early 1990s have built-in devices to prevent electrocution.

_Multipurpose lighters that are not child-resistant should be replaced. A new CPSC standard went into effect at the end of 2000 for these lighters, known as grill lighters, fireplace lighters, utility lighters, micro-torches or gas matches.

_Jackets, sweat shirts and other clothing with drawstrings around the neck can strangle children. The industry and CPSC eliminated hood and neck drawstrings in 1995, but the agency knows of 23 deaths from 1985 through 2000. Consumers are urged to pull or cut out all drawstrings and not to sell such clothing at garage sales or give them to thrift stores.