By Hannah Rhodes, Consumer Watchdog Associate
Jan. 28, 2022
Navigating through a government website may sound tedious, but here are some tips on how to be notified about and report unsafe products in your home.
What is Saferproducts.gov?
Saferproducts.gov is the CPSC’s database that was created after the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was enacted in 2008. For consumers, there are two important uses for Saferproducts.gov, including searching for unsafe products and reporting bad incidents.
Searching for unsafe products
When looking for a product recall or an incident report, consumers can type in a product name to “Search for unsafe products.”
The search can be general like “crib” or “scooter” or it could be more specific and include a brand name. Recalls as well as incident reports can pop up, depending on what product you search for. You can also filter for just reports or just recalls/repairs.
An incident report includes a product description, incident details and information on the victims involved. The report can also include an attached recall as well as comments from the company. Each time an incident is reported, it goes to the company for comment before being published publicly.
Reporting bad incidents
Incidents can be reported by anyone under the appropriate category, such as consumers, medical professionals, government officials or child care providers.
While filling in information about a product can sound tedious, it allows both the CPSC and other consumers to learn about potentially unsafe products.
To file a report, consumers can use an online form to submit these requirements
A description of the consumer product.
The identity of the manufacturer or private labeller.
A description of the harm related to the use of the product.
The date or an approximate date of the incident.
The category of submitter such as a consumer or permitted reporter.
The contact information of the submitter.
A verification that the information submitted is true and accurate.
Whether or not you consent for the CPSC to publish the report.
What happens when a product is recalled?
Each time a product is recalled, the recalling company and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) agree to a remedy. You can find it at cpsc.gov/Recalls and normally on the companys’ website, though it may be hidden at the bottom of a homepage.
After selecting a recalled product on cpsc.gov/Recalls, scroll to “Remedy” near the bottom of the page. There are different types of remedies, including full refunds, prorated refunds, repairs or replacements of the product. This section will also indicate what to expect from a recalling company, with the contact information being provided above.
When working with a company on a recalled product
Find out from the company how long you can expect before receiving a refund or a replacement product.
Realize that a company is very unlikely to ask for a receipt to prove purchase about a recall product, but it may ask for a photo of the product.
How to sign up for product recall notifications
Consumers and businesses can visit cpsc.gov/Newsroom/Subscribe. For consumers, there are a variety of email alerts that you can sign up for including all recall alerts, recall alerts for household products and recalls for children and infant products.
Another way to be notified about recalls regularly is shepwatchdog.org. Recall roundup for both products and food recalls is published weekly.
While consumers are unable to set up safety notifications for a specific product on cpsc.gov or Safeproducts.gov, parents and guardians can register infant and toddler durable products for recall notifications directly from the company. This generally can be done by mail or email. Durable products include high chairs, strollers and cribs.
Once you’ve registered a product, make sure to update contact information if you move or change any personal information such as your phone number or email address.
The CPSC has a Safety Education page where consumers can select the product topic or safety hazard they want to learn more about.
Run by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), healthychildren.org is a great resource for parents and guardians, especially when learning about product safety. One of their resources includes a guide on what products to watch out for when shopping for an infant. Another blog to check out is on common household products to avoid.