Mattel Toy Recall

As remarkable as it may seem, the world’s largest toy maker has announced another recall of its products, which involves 800,000 Barbie accessories, Fisher Price train locomotives and bongo drums. The reason given for Mattel’s third recall was identical to the previous two; the presence of unacceptably high quantities of lead in the paint used to brighten these toys.

In early August, Mattel recalled 1.5 million toys featuring Elmo and other popular characters. Later in the same month, “Sarge” toy cars from the hit Disney movie “Cars” in addition to 9 million other toys containing tiny magnets were recalled. The total number of toys recalled by Mattel is now an incredible 19 million. The latest recall was announced jointly by Mattel and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (C.P.S.C.).

In September, a consumer watchdog web site Consumer published an article about a study done by a national non-profit agency called Kids in Danger, which proved that injuries among children in this country have more than doubled in the last five years compared to the previous ten years.

Despite these recent recalls, child safety experts are concerned that the market could still be flooded with these lead tainted toys. The government agency in charge of inspecting these products, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), has only 15 inspectors for the entire country. You read that correctly. The United States of America, a country of 300 million people, has a total of 15 people in charge of inspecting all toys that are placed into the marketplace.

What’s even more disturbing is the fact that the C.P.S.C. is not legally able to levy fines against companies that withhold information about a recalled product. According to the article, Mattel has been accused of doing this on at least two occasions.

So, what can we Parents do to protect our children?
• Sign up for the C.P.S.C.’s recall alerts at Whenever there is a dangerous toy being recalled, you’ll receive an e-mail alert.
• Go on the site and check for past recalls and make sure you do not have any of these toys in your home. Also, share this information with family and friends.
• If you find any toys in your home that have been recalled due to lead, you should consider taking your children to their pediatrician for a check up, including blood work. Quite often, the symptoms from lead poisoning can lie dormant for years.
• When purchasing new toys for your children, fill out the recall registration card so the manufacturer can contact you directly in the event of recall.

Our children in the South Florida area are in need of our help to keep them safe. When the very things they love may do them serious harm it us up to us as parents to do what we can in our small neighborhoods as well. Speak up at your play groups, send out a message to all the parents in your child’s school, or volunteer to do a safety check in you child’s school or day care to weed out any suspect toys. This may be a national re-call but it has small town implications and touches us all the way down to our own child’s bedroom or playroom. So, let’s get together South Florida and make a difference one child at a time.

Florida No-Fault, Med Pay and UIM Insurance

Since 1972, Florida has been a “no-fault” state with regard to automobile accidents. That simply means irregardless of who causes an automobile accident, each party must submit the first 10,000.00 of their medical bills to their own insurance company for payment. (This is known as P.I.P.) The P.I.P. law (Personal Injury Protection) requires your insurance company to pay 80% of your medical bills up to the $10,000.00 limit.

This vitally important law provides a number of other benefits to Florida citizens who are involved in auto accidents, namely a $5,000.00 death benefit and a lost wage benefit. For those drivers who do not have health insurance, P.I.P. provides the only avenue to have one’s medial bills paid. (Medical debt is one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy in the United States.)

What does this mean for you and what should you do? First, please call your auto insurance agent immediately to discuss the alternatives to P.I.P. Specifically, obtain a quote for “medical payments” coverage, which is separate and apart from P.I.P. Even if you have health insurance, consider the inconvenience associated with obtaining referrals to specialists and other red tape. Medical Payments coverage will allow you to choose any doctor you wish without the need for a referral. This becomes especially important when one requires treatment with a medical specialist.

Another potential problem that you may encounter in Florida is being struck and injured by an uninsured driver. There are far too many drivers on Florida roads without insurance. This creates a danger for all of us who incur medical bills for accident related injuries. However, there is a very simple solution to this problem. It’s called U.M. Insurance. Uninsured Motorists (U.M.) Coverage is perhaps the most important type of auto insurance you can have in Florida. In the event that you are struck and injured by someone without auto insurance, U.M. Insurance allows you to turn to your own insurance carrier and force them to “stand in the shoes” of the uninsured driver.

U.M. Insurance requires your own insurance carrier to compensate you for all of the damages that you would have been entitled to receive from the uninsured driver. Unfortunately, many insurance agents do not explain this essential layer of coverage properly and often advise their clients to reject U.M. insurance in writing.

Finally, it is extremely important to protect yourself and your family should they be injured in an accident. The purchase of “medical payments” coverage and “Uninsured Motorist” coverage will provide that protection.