2 Deaths Prompt Toy Recall

By Annys Shin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hasbro Inc. yesterday recalled about 255,000 Playskool toy tool benches after a toddler in West Virginia and another in Texas died from choking on the set's oversize plastic nails.

The nails are part of the Team Talkin' Tool Bench, a set that comes with a toy hammer, screwdriver, two 2ΒΌ-inch plastic screws and two 3-inch plastic nails.

Hasbro agreed to conduct the recall voluntarily after notifying the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

A commission statement said the two young children died after the plastic nails became "forcefully lodged in their throats."

The workbench was sold nationwide at stores including Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Target and KB Toys from October 2005 through September 2006 for about $35.

Consumers with the workbench should keep the toy nails away from children and can contact Hasbro to exchange the nails for a $50 certificate for another Hasbro product.

"The toy without the nails does not present a hazard," Consumer Product Safety Commission spokeswoman Julie Vallese said. "Parents don't have to take the entire toy away, they just have to remove the nails."

The first victim, a 19-month-old boy from Martinsburg, W.Va., died in January. Hasbro learned of the death in February after an employee saw a reference to it on Amazon.com during a routine check of online comments about Hasbro products, spokesman Wayne S. Charness said.

A message left with an attorney for the family of the Martinsburg boy was not returned.

Hasbro asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate. The agency concluded that the oversize plastic nail met federal regulations for small parts and that the company had complied with federal labeling standards. The toy was marketed for use by children age 3 and older.

The second victim, a 2-year-old in League City, Tex., died in July after running and falling on one of the plastic nails, said Michael Howell, an attorney for the family.

Howell said that the family reported the death to the commission a week after it happened, but that the agency did not interview family members until this week.

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