Burns Prompt Another Toy-Oven Recall

For the second time in less than a year, Hasbro has recalled its Easy-Bake Oven toy. Some children's hands were burned in the front opening of the oven.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michele Norris.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

There is another big toy recall today. This one affects an icon of American playrooms - the Easy-Bake Oven. Hasbro is urging parents to return about a million toy ovens sold in the last year. The company acted after dozens of reports of children suffering burns.

NPR's Scott Horsley has details.

SCOTT HORSLEY: Easy-Bake Ovens have been feeding and entertaining kids for more than four decades ever since the first batch of gooey cake batter dribbled unto some suburban family rooms off a cuddle shag carpeting.

(Soundbite of Easy-Bake Ovens ad)

Unidentified Woman: Be sure it's Kenner's Easy-Bake Oven.

HORSLEY: The Hasbro Company bought Kenner in 1991. And last spring, the company redesigned the oven, replacing the traditional light bulb used for baking with an electric heating element, then switching the oven's door from the side to the front. Since then, hundreds of children have gotten their fingers or hands stuck on the door and dozens have been burned - some seriously.

In February, Hasbro offered to add a plastic grate to keep young fingers out of the oven. But Scott Wolfson of the Consumer Product Safety Commission says the problems have persisted. One 5-year-old girl was burned so badly, part of her finger had to be amputated.

Mr. SCOTT WOLFSON (Consumer Product Safety Commission): We are very concerned. So the message for parents today is do not hesitate. We don't want this to continue. The only way for it to stop is for parents, right now, to take advantage of this recall.

HORSLEY: The government is urging parents to take the oven away from children immediately and send it back to the company. Hasbro's offering to pay for shipping along with a voucher good on other Hasbro products. Company spokesman Wayne Charness says the recall applies only to the redesigned ovens.

Mr. WAYNE CHARNESS (Spokesman, Hasbro Company): There are currently about 25 million other Easy-Bake Ovens that are side entry, using the light bulb that are unaffected by this recall. But it's this new oven that was sold from '06 to '07 with the front-loading that the recall is regarding.

HORSLEY: The recalled Easy-Bake Ovens are manufactured in China. Scott Wolfson says that's true of nearly all toy recalls announced this year by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Mr. WOLFSON: CPSC has a real commitment to work with the Chinese government, with Chinese manufacturers on the toys' side to make those toys as safe for kids as possible.

HORSLEY: Meanwhile, Hasbro says it's working on another redesign, so the Easy-Bake Oven can go back on the market and extend its 44-year history.

Scott Horsley, NPR News.

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