STATEMENT: 3.2 million Calico Critters toys recalled after two deaths

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CLEVELANDThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Epoch Everlasting Play of New Jersey on Thursday announced a recall of 3.2 million Calico Critters flocked animal figures with accessories that could choke a child. The notice said Epoch knows of three incidents, including two in which children died. One involved a 2-year-old in New Mexico who died in 2018. The autopsy found a small part from a Calico Critters “Yellow Labrador Twins” set in the child’s airway. 

The Calico Critter accessories at issue are a bottle and pacifier that come with more than 50 types of the little doll-like animal toys, including certain models of chipmunks, bears, cats, rabbits and other animals. The critters are usually a few inches tall; the accessories are small enough for a child to choke on. 

The toys were sold in stores and online nationwide from January 2000 through December 2021 for $10 to $80. Families are instructed to take the bottle and pacifier accessories away from children and contact Epoch to get a free replacement accessory by submitting photos of the item. 

In response, Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog at PIRG Education Fund, said:

“Learning that a toy was recalled because children died is heart-breaking. U.S. PIRG Education Fund flagged Calico Critters and other ‘flocked animal’ toys in our Trouble in Toyland report in November 2020. While the packages were labeled that they’re intended for children 3 and older, some websites have marketed them for children less and 3 years old. 

“We wonder how many other close-calls there were over the years and why it took five years after a second child’s death to recall these toys,” Murray said. “And with 3 million of these toys in families’ homes that pose the same choking hazard, we hope that the manufacturer devotes the same amount of resources to warning parents about the danger as it did to market the toys to begin with.”

“Our new Safe At Home report found that 22 percent of product recalls last year came after injuries or deaths were reported. Nearly 9 percent involved choking hazards. The report also highlighted numerous recalls that took months or years after injuries, deaths or serious property damage occurred. This is unacceptable.”