Simple ways to keep track of product recalls

Since her son was born, Monique Sock has bought a lot of baby gear. But what she didn't do is mail in the manufacturer's product registration card so she'd be notified of any recalls.

"I didn't want them to use it to market to me or send me junk mail," she said.

And sock is not the only one who doesn't send in registration cards. A Consumer Reports national research center survey found many more than a third of people never do.

"Being aware of recall information can be a matter of life and death. There have been dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries associated with recall products," Dan Mays from Consumer Reports said.

Last year, the consumer product safety commission announced 428 recalls -- everything from lawnmowers to Rachael Ray teakettles to flammable women's robes. The majority were children products such as cribs, strollers, and car seats.

"It's really important to fill out product registration cards for all products. You don't have to fill out personal or financial information. Just give them your contact information," Mays said.

In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act now forbids companies that make infant and toddler products from using the information "for any purpose other than a product recall or safety alert." Some companies like Costco are taking extra steps, like maintaining purchase records so they can contact customers directly about recalls.

Sock said from now on, she is going to make a point of sending in product registration cards.

"Knowing that a manufacturer would let me know if there was a problem with the product, I'm more than happy to give them my information," Sock said.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2010. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

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