In an extraordinary move, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has declared as dangerous tens of thousands of “metoo” clip-on table top chairs sold under the phil&teds brand name and is warning consumers to stop using them after “numerous” injuries were reported.
Typically, through a sometimes drawn out process, companies and the government negotiate the terms of a recall. That can mean anything from withdrawing the product to, more commonly, coming up with a repair or replacement part that addresses the safety concern.
The CPSC said phil&teds refused to initiate a recall that the government finds acceptable.
“The company has offered a repair kit consisting of rubber boots to place on the upper clamp grips of the chairs,” the CPSC said in a statement. “Consumers should be aware that CPSC has not approved a repair kit for this product, despite the firm’s prior statement that it was conducting a recall in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.”
The CPSC warning applies to a chair with a nylon seat and metal frame that clamps onto tables using two metal clamps. The chairs the government says are unsafe don’t have plastic spacers between the clamps and the front bar.
The chairs have been sold since 2006 for about $50.
Other chairs with the spaces are “under evaluation,” the CPSC said.
The chairs referenced in the warning “pose serious fall and amputation hazards to children placed in them. Children can suffer impact and head injuries when the chair detaches from the table and falls with them in it. CPSC staff is aware of numerous incidents involving the affected metoo chairs.”
An investigation by the CPSC concluded the clamps can detach as the children in them move around and that fingers can be severely injured or cut off because the spacing between the metal bar and the front of the chair is too small.
The government also said the instructions and packaging provide information that conflict with each other and contain inadequate warnings about the risks.
The company on its website boasts of its commitment to safety, but is no among a very small handful of companies whose products have been deemed unsafe by the CPSC.
This is the company’s statement on safety:
phil&teds takes product safety and safe use seriously. We take the utmost care in designing products to meet or exceed safety standards all over the world.
We are extremely proud of our safety record, our proactive approach to product management, and our long term relationship with parents, all over the world. Sometimes, new concerns arise outside the testing and production framework that require immediate attention. We are proud to make positive, pro-active product improvement measures.
From time to time, we’ll have a great idea to improve our products that may require an additional part or repair, modifications or replacement after the manufacturing process. In most cases, a simple (free) replacement part is all that’s needed. If you have any concerns or questions please contact us or your retailer. We will be happy to respond.