$1.1 Million Penalty Is No Child's Play For Toy Maker

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Washington, announced June 7 that Fisher-Price Inc., East Aurora, N.Y., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $1.1 million to settle CPSC charges that it failed to report serious safety defects with Power Wheels toy vehicles. This is the largest fine against a toy firm in the CPSC's history. Under federal law, companies are required to report to the CPSC if they obtain information that reasonably suggests that their products could present a substantial risk of injury to consumers, or creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. CPSC said Fisher-Price failed to report to CPSC in a timely manner, as required by the Consumer Product Safety Act, that its Power Wheels ride-on toy vehicles presented fire hazards and failed to stop. According to the CPSC Fisher-Price failed to report 116 fires involving the vehicles and reports of more than 1,800 incidents of the vehicles' electrical components overheating, short-circuiting, melting, or failing. Additionally, the organization claimed Fisher-Price was aware of at least 71 incidents involving the products' failure to stop, resulting in six minor injuries when the vehicles hit a car, truck, pole, window, or fence. Fisher-Price began marketing the Power Wheels in 1995. In agreeing to settle this matter, Fisher-Price denied the CPSC allegations and denied it knowingly violated the Consumer Product Safety Act.

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