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Health Canada Reminds Parents, Grandparents and Caregivers to Discard Older Fisher-Price "Little People" Figures Manufactured Before 1991

Thu, 03/25/2010 - 5:20am
Health Canada

OTTAWA - Health Canada is reminding parents, grandparents and caregivers to immediately discard all older Fisher-Price "Little People" figures manufactured before 1991, due to the risk of serious injury or death posed by these older, but popular, toys. The size and shape of the older Fisher-Price "Little People" figures are such that the toys can become lodged in a child's throat, causing a complete block of airflow which can result in serious injury or death.

The older "Little People" figures, which were manufactured before 1991, have a circular base approximately 2 cm (3/4 inch) in diameter. The figures include a variety of characters, such as a little girl, a train conductor, a dog and a father (see photo below).

The newer "Little People" figures, which have been manufactured since 1991, have a larger circular base, approximately 3 cm (1 ¼ inches) in diameter. These figures are taller, in chunkier shapes and are of sizes that cannot be taken into the throat of a young child (see photo below). These newer figures are not the subject of this advisory.

Recently, Health Canada has become aware of the death of a 10-month-old child resulting from the use of one of these older products. The death occurred after an older "Little People" figure became lodged in the child's throat. This incident has brought attention to the fact that these products are still used in play in Canadian households. Additionally, these products continue to be sold in some second-hand retail establishments (including internet retailers and resellers).

Health Canada strongly encourages parents, grandparents and caregivers who still have possession of any older "Little People" figures to immediately and safely discard of them. The toys should be disposed of in normal household garbage in such a way that they cannot be used or re-sold. Additionally, Health Canada encourages second-hand retailers (including internet retailers and resellers) to discontinue the sale and distribution of the older "Little People" figurines.

Fisher-Price launched a public information campaign in 1992, entitled the "Family Alert Program" in response to reports of seven fatalities and one serious injury related to the use of these figures by children under the age of three. The program provided education to parents and caregivers concerning the risks of continued use of the older "Little People" figures. The program also provided education on other health and safety risks present in the home.

Health Canada reminds consumers to choose toys carefully and provides tips to help keep children safe when they play with toys at the following link: Toy Safety Tips.

Health Canada is also asking Canadians to report any health or safety incidents, past or present, related to the use of a consumer product or cosmetic. An easy-to-use incident report form is now available on the Department's website.

Consumers may also contact Health Canada's Consumer Product Safety Bureau by phone toll-free at 1-866-662-0666, or by email at cps-spc@hc-sc.gc.ca (if contacting via e-mail, please indicate the province or territory from which you are corresponding).

Comparison of Fisher-Price Little People figures manufactured prior to 1991 (top) and after 1991 (bottom).

Comparison of Fisher-Price Little People figures manufactured prior to 1991 (top) and after 1991 (bottom).

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Media Enquiries:

Health Canada

(613) 957-2983

Public Enquiries:

(613) 957-2991

1-866 225-0709

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