Safety Fears Over Certain phil&teds USA Highchairs

Consumers Urged To Stop Using phil&teds USA Clip-on ChairsThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned consumers to stop using certain phil&teds USA clip-on highchairs because they could put children at a serious safety risk.

The chairs have been widely sold since May 2006 for about $50 each through Buy Buy Baby, Target, Toys R Us, Amazon.com and other online stores. Called a "metoo" chair, the highchair has a nylon fabric seat and a metal frame that clamps onto tables with two vice clamps and is sold in three colors -- red, black and navy.

The CPSC determined that the clamps can detach from table surfaces, plus the chairs can detach when children move around or use their feet to push against things. The agency also said there isn't enough space between a metal bar at the front of the chair and the clamps -- which could catch a child's fingers, possibly crushing or amputating them. To show consumers what can happen, the CPSC created a video of the chair coming off the table, using a doll in place of a child.The clip-on chairs affected by the federal warning don't have plastic spacers between the table clamps and the front horizontal metal bar. The clip-on chairs that have plastic spacers between the table clamps and the front horizontal metal bar are under CPSC evaluation.

The CPSC said the company has refused to agree to a national recall that is acceptable to the agency. Phil&teds has offered a repair kit of rubber "socks" to put on the upper clamp grips of the chairs, and if the chairs are properly attached to tables, they function "as intended," the company said in a statement.

But the CPSC said it didn't approve the repair kit "despite the firm's prior statement that it was conducting a recall 'in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.' "

In a statement, phil&teds said it "expressed surprise" at the CPSC's warning on its version 1 metoo highchairs. That version was made before March 2010, the company said.

"Since before announcing in February a worldwide voluntary upgrade of the metoo - approved by all worldwide product safety authorities except the CPSC -- the company has cooperated fully, and worked diligently, with the CPSC to reach agreement on a recall to repair that is acceptable to the CPSC. It will continue to do so in the best interests of metoo users," the company said in its statement. The company said its U.S. distributor reported a "small number" of incidents of the chair detaching from a table, with two children hurt.

Consumers can report an incident to the CPSC or contact phil&teds at (877) 432-1641 or by e-mail.

Last year, some 1.5 million Graco strollers were recalled after reports of children's fingertips getting amputated by the stroller.

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