McDonald's has voluntarily recalled an activity tracker toy included in Happy Meals last month due to reports of skin irritation and even burns. The fast food restaurant chain is working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada to formerly recall the defective items and ensure that were given out before McDonald's pulled them aren't being used.
The company had received over 70 complaints, including some on social media, that the STEP-iT Activity Bands were causing burns, blisters, and other skin irritations after being worn for as briefly as eight minutes.
Toy pulled after 9 days
The 33 million toys were manufactured in China, and were intended for the United States as well as Canada. The wristbands were included in Happy Meals and Mighty Kids meals for nine days, from August 9 to August 17. Both of the styles being recalled are the Activity Counter and Light-up Band, which measure how many steps the wearer takes and blinks slowly or quickly with their pace.
Parents are encouraged by McDonald's to return to trade in the toy for a new one, and a choice of apple slices or a yogurt tube, free of charge.
McDonald's public relations stumble
Similar to a Fitbit, McDonald's said they released the toy to encourage kids to be more active - although some see the gesture as just a clever marketing ploy. This recall is another blow to the fast food giant's PR, who has had to recall other toys for choking and other hazards - in 1982, 1992 and as recently as March of this year.
The importance of recall awareness
Because of the ubiquitous nature of McDonald's restaurants, many children could be affected by these toys unless a parent recognizes the problem. Kids aren't paying attention to recalls, so it's very important that recalls reach parents before serious issues arise.
As we've outlined before, the product recall process begins with a consumer who reaches out to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and files a complaint - if the CPSC find the complaint viable, they will contact the company to let them know a recall needs to happen.