Colorful, musical battery operated toys provide parents an opportunity to introduce their child to fun ways of learning and exploring. Montana residents may find it interesting and potentially alarming to learn that a popular children’s toy has been the center of controversy over safety issues when the toy is operated. The toy in question is made by Fisher-Price and is called the Soothe & Glow Seahorse.

The toy has been a hit ever since it was first introduced in 2008 and apparently listed on Amazon as one of the top ten bestselling toddler toys. However, according to reports, the Consumer Product Safety Commission received numerous complaints from concerned parents who reported that the toy gets extremely hot to the point that it starts to smoke and melts plastic when its batteries are changed. In at least one case reported to CPSC, the heat was so intense that it melted the plastic on the inside of the toy and caused smoke to emanate from the inside of the toy. The consumer complaints were logged with the CPSC from as early as October of 2012 to as late as February of 2014.

An investigation by a private entity seems to have narrowed down the problem to a flaw in the design of the battery coil and wiring among other things with the toy. They suspect the company addressed the problem by issuing a different model that only requires two batteries instead of three. None of the newer model toys that required only two batteries exhibited the overheating defect.

However, despite the fire risk, and generation of toxic fumes when the plastic melts, Fisher Price apparently did not deem the Seahorse to be an unsafe toy, or the defect with three battery model serious enough to require a recall. When the CPSC was asked about the criteria needed to require a recall, it explained that companies are required to report all complaints that are submitted for products that represent a substantial hazard to the public but it also was quick to point out that what constitutes substantial hazard is left to the discretion of each company.

In cases such as these where a product poses a threat to the user, legal guidance from an experienced attorney can provide an individual with the proper course of action, sometimes resulting in compensation for any injuries received. This will hopefully bring about a safe change to the product, protecting others in the process.

Source: KSHB, “Despite fire safety concerns, no recall of Fisher Price Soothe and Glove Seahorse toddler toy,” Keli Rabon, Feb. 24, 2014