Toys R Us yesterday recalled 71,000 "Bathtub Baby" doll sets that come with a small, pink ball (about 1 1/4 inches in diameter) that poses a choking hazard to children under age 3.

The $2 doll set, which also includes a blue plastic bathtub, a red, fish-shaped strainer, and a 5 1/2-inch soft vinyl doll wearing a blue diaper, sold at Toys R Us stores nationwide from October 1998 to July 1999. A hangtag on its clear plastic packaging reads "Bathtub Baby," "What a Doll!" "Fishel," and "Made in China."

While no injuries from this toy have been reported, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission inspectors identified its potential risk.

If you own this doll set, return it to the store you bought it from for a refund.

For additional information, call your local Toys R Us store, or visit the Toys R Us Web site at

To report a hazardous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hot line at 800-638-2772.

Follow-Up: Strung Out Former Baltimore ad man Herb Robinson responded to the June 30 column on why shoelaces in new athletic shoes are way long. He took his new Nike walkers back to Foot Locker and asked a sales clerk for shorter laces. "I was told I could buy laces for $2," says the Boca Raton, Fla., resident. "I refused, and . . . asked for her immediate supervisor."

Robinson explained the problem to the Foot Locker manager. "I was promised proper laces in the mail that day," he said, "and also a lecture to his staff at the next meeting about the value of a satisfied customer."

Lynn P. Holley of Westminster, S.C., e-mailed that she beats the extra-long shoestring problem by starting with a reasonable tying length on one end, then lacing them from one top eyelet down and back up to the other opposite eyelet.

When done, she snips the longer end of the lace and uses it "to tie up tomato plants and such," she says.

But Holley questions Nike spokeswoman Kathryn Reith's explanation that the longer laces accommodate various lacing configurations that can provide better support. "Does Nike or any other shoe manufacturer supply information with their shoes about this wonderful advantage that leads to a better fit and more comfort for the consumer?" she asks. "The answer, unfortunately, is no."

Got a consumer complaint? Question? Tip? E-mail or write Don Oldenburg, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, 20071.