Monday July 16, 2012
No Corrective Action Model in Monitor Cord Announcement, CPSC SaysBy Sean Oberle
A June 11 announcement by CPSC, the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA), and others should not be viewed as a model for future corrective actions. CPSC’s agreement to the approach in this case is “not an indication that this will be an option in the future,” public affairs chief Scott Wolfson told PSL.
The action involved a posting by CPSC on its blog and the launching of a JPMA website on an industry agreement to offer replacement labels for any monitor. They warn of the risk of strangulation in cords of monitors set near cribs. The campaign focuses on educating consumers to keep units at least 3 feet from cribs. It does not use the word recall although, as Wolfson confirmed, it was the subject of a corrective action negotiation.
This was a “unique situation,” Wolfson said. “In this case, staff felt [the action] was appropriate,” he explained. “Every investigation is looked at based on its merits.”
In the past, CPSC often has insisted on using the word recall – as opposed to alternatives like repair or retrofit – to avoid consumers’ assuming that an action has lesser importance than one labeled a recall. Some who deal with the agency question the stance, suggesting it makes it hard for consumers to judge severity if everything is a recall.
This situation suggested that debate because a single-company action on baby monitors last year – Summer’s February 2011 “recall” (PSL, 2/21/11, p. 2) – involved the same label remedy. This action also does not include the typical CPSC press release that accompanies most recall announcements although CPSC did issue a statement to the press that links the action to CPSC’s safe sleep efforts and points to the new JPMA webpage: www.babymonitorsafety.org.
CLARIFICATION: Scott Wolfson, Director of CPSC’s Of¬fice of Communications, clar¬ified to PSL that although the on¬going corrective action with the Juvenile Products Manufac¬tur¬ers Asso-ciation on baby mon¬itor cords (PSL, 7/16/12, p. 1) is “not an in-dication that this will be an option in every case in the fu¬ture,” that does not neces¬sarily mean that the agency will never con¬sider such options.