News and Hot Topics
August 22, 2012
A Message from Gerald L. Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys"R"Us, Inc.
Dear Valued Guest,
Since we launched this dedicated Safety site in 2007, it has become a valued resource for parents and caregivers about product recalls, tips for helping to avoid unintentional injuries and information about how our company ensures the safety of the products we sell. We know that the safety of your children is your top priority. It’s ours, too. In addition to the more than 250,000 customers who have signed up to receive e-mail notifications of product recalls via our Safety site, millions more receive these notifications because they’re members of our Rewards“R”Us loyalty program or have created a Baby Registry or Wish List with us. This allows us to reach out to parents, caregivers and gift-givers in the event a product they purchased has been the subject of a safety recall.
We continue to have ongoing dialogue with respected Safety advocates who are at the forefront of product safety issues, and draw on their expertise to provide reliable tips and information for parents and caregivers. To that end, we’ve just added a new blog entitled “Safety Experts Say,” providing a forum for leading safety organizations such as Injury Free Coalition for Kids, First Candle and Safe Kids Worldwide, among others, to provide commentary on specific safety issues. Currently focused on sleep safety, the blog will be updated on a regular basis with relevant information to help parents keep their children out of harm’s way.
As a company, we take pride in supporting organizations that share in our mission to keep kids safe and help them in times of need. Most recently, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with Toys“R”Us, Inc., made a $25,000 donation to Keeping Babies Safe to assist the organization in educating parents and caregivers about how to create and maintain a safe sleep environment for babies and promoting the development of safer children’s products. Through its Project Safe Crib program, Keeping Babies Safe helps parents from economically challenged environments obtain safe cribs by purchasing and providing them to Health and Human Services across the country. Since 2007, Project Safe Crib has donated more than 2,000 safe cribs nationwide.
We understand the trust you place in us to ensure the safety of the products we sell and to provide only the safest shopping environment for you and your family, and we take that responsibility very seriously. It is our steadfast commitment to be your reliable partner in helping to keep your children safe.
Gerald L. Storch
Chairman and CEO
April 03, 2012
Babies“R”Us Helps Child Care Facilities Transition to New Crib Standards
As part of our ongoing commitment to safety, we’re pleased to announce that Babies“R”Us now offers a selection of cribs and other products made especially for use in daycare facilities. This new offering is designed to help child care facilities transition to updated federal crib standards by December 2012, as set forth by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Items available as part of the Child Care Collections include three different crib models and a glider from Delta Children’s Products, mattresses from Simmons and a selection of crib sheets and blankets. All items are available to order online via a dedicated website, Babiesrus.com/childcarecollections, or in any “R”Us store nationwide. Items can be shipped to any U.S. address, and a discount is available for those purchasing five or more cribs.
In late 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved an updated federal standard for cribs, which was effective for all new cribs sold as of June 28, 2011. The new regulations provided a phase-in period for child care facilities to comply. As such, before the end of this year, all child care facilities in the U.S. will be required to use only cribs that meet these new federal standards, which include:
- Traditional drop-side cribs cannot be made or sold
- Wood slats must be made of stronger woods to prevent breakage
- Crib hardware must have anti-loosening devices to keep it from coming loose or falling off
- Mattress supports must be more durable
- Safety testing must be more rigorous
Babies“R”Us has long served as a trusted advisor to new and expectant parents, as well as experienced parents and caregivers. Through this program, child care providers have access to the high-quality products that Babies“R”Us is known for, and can also take advantage of services offered by the company, such as e-mail notification of product recalls for items purchased at Babies“R”Us and Toys“R”Us.
February 16, 2012
‘Keeping Babies Safe’ Donates 210 Cribs: Group receives grant from Toys ‘R’ Us charitable fund.
By Linda Sadlouskos
Keeping Babies Safe, which has in the past donated cribs to Somerset Hills YMCA, has now donated 210 safe, new cribs to The New Jersey Department of Children and Families and Life Choices Resource Center that will reach all of New Jersey’s 21 counties.
The cribs were purchased by the group after receiving a $25,000 grant from the Toys 'R' Us Children’s Fund through its 2011 New Jersey grant initiative.
“We wanted to reach as many families in New Jersey needing safe, federally-compliant cribs,” said Joyce Davis of Warren, president of Keeping Babies Safe.
“That’s why we donated 210 cribs directly to the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and Life Choices because collectively they reach every county in the state to ensure that parents in need have a safe crib for their baby in early 2012.”
Grants were given by the fund to alleviate economic challenges and sustain organizations that favorably impact children across New Jersey. Keeping Babies Safe was one of 54 organizations selected from 500 charities statewide requesting funding.
Keeping Babies Safe, has a long history of donating cribs throughout New Jersey through affiliations and distribution channels like the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and Life Choices, and made possible by generous grants like Toys 'R' Us—so far, more that 3,000 have been donated. In addition to giving safe cribs, Keeping Babies Safe educates these organizations’ social services professionals on safe sleep and crib practices so they in turn can pass this critical crib safety information onto the communities they serve. Our combined efforts of Keeping Babies Safe’s education, and crib donations campaigns has made an essential difference in providing safe sleep environments to babies throughout the State that otherwise would be sleeping in dangerous conditions.
“The New Jersey Department of Children and Families is extremely grateful for the work of Keeping Babies Safe,” DCF Commissioner Allison Blake said. “Through this partnership, our prevention programs are able to provide brand new, safe cribs for newborns of participating families that lack the necessary financial resources to make this essential purchase.”
The cribs are provided; along with training in crib safety and safe sleep practices, to new mothers and parents in all 21 counties of the state through their participation in the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) home visiting programs, parenting programs and Family Success Centers.
“As a pregnancy help center located in Metuchen in central New Jersey, Life Choices Resource Center primarily serves clients from Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties, however, we accommodate anyone in New Jersey who contacts us,” says Carolyn Glodek, Director of Client Services. “While we offer emotional support to women who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy, our efforts would be hollow if we could not assist them materially, as well. Our connection with Keeping Babies Safe allows us to, not only provide a new crib when it is needed, but one that we know will be safe. Keeping Babies Safe also provides us with their educational ‘Safe Sleep (Environments) for Babies’ materials, outlining sleep safety tips for newborns. Keeping Babies Safe fills a huge gap in the lives of many babies, and we are so grateful for their continued support.”
“As a company dedicated to children and families, Toys“R”Us shares in the commitment of Keeping Babies Safe to helping parents and caregivers keep children out of harm’s way, and we are proud that our support has enabled the organization to provide safer sleeping environments for hundreds of babies in New Jersey,” said Kathleen Waugh, Chairman, Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund. “Of the many proposals the Children’s Fund received, Keeping Babies Safe demonstrated a distinctive commitment to supporting children in New Jersey through its safety-focused outreach efforts that positively impact the lives of countless children in the state.”
Grants will support a wide array of unique programs and services aligned with the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund mission of keeping children safe and helping them in times of need. Funding was awarded to nonprofit organizations that demonstrated an immediate and specific need and directly impacted children in the state. Kids in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties will benefit from the impact of the grant initiative through community-based and statewide charities. To view the complete list of recipients, please visit: Toysrusinc.com/charitable-giving/2011NJGrants
Toys“R”Us, Inc. has a long history of giving back to the communities it serves by keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need. The company and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund together have given hundreds of thousands of dollars in product donations and monetary grants annually to a wide range of nonprofit organizations in New Jersey. For 38 years, Toys“R”Us, Inc. has been based in New Jersey with more than 4,500 employees across more than 45 stores, regional offices, the corporate headquarters and the company’s largest retail distribution center in the country.
Keeping Babies Safe www.keepingbabiessafe.org is a 501 (c)(3) foundation that provides education, assistance and leadership in keeping babies safe from preventable injuries associated with unsafe cribs and unsafe sleep environments. Keeping Babies Safe offers safe cribs, sleep safety information, safety tips, and product recall information to empower parents with information so they can remain vigilant about keeping their babies safe. Keeping Babies Safe, in connection with the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, created “Safe Sleep (Environments) for Babies” educational videos and helpful tips that we are making available to as many parents as possible.
September 01, 2011
A Message from Gerald L. Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys"R"Us, Inc.
Dear Valued Guest,
I am writing to you today about an important topic. A few days ago, we announced our fifth “Great Trade-In” event, which calls attention to the fact that, due to safety concerns, certain used baby products are not the best candidates to be handed down or resold. As a company, Toys“R”Us, Inc. is committed to offering you the safest products and to providing resources to help keep children safe. With this in mind, I wanted to take the opportunity to discuss some recent changes to U.S. product safety standards and updated recommendations for children’s safety, notably two of the most significant developments that may impact your family:
Strengthened crib standards from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
The most stringent crib safety standards in the world took effect on June 28. These new standards prohibit the manufacture or sale of traditional drop-side rail cribs, require strengthened crib slats and mattress supports, improve the quality of hardware, and mandate more overall rigorous testing. All cribs sold in Babies“R”Us and Toys“R”Us stores and online meet these new federal safety requirements, and, in fact, our company has not carried drop-side cribs as part of its assortment since December 2009.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated guidelines for the recommended use of car seats
The AAP advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height or weight for their seat. In its new guidelines, the AAP also advises that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age. These are important considerations for parents whose little ones are about to outgrow their infant car seat and transition to a convertible car seat or even outgrow their convertible seat and now need a booster seat.
These and other improvements to product safety requirements put in place over the last several years are why we first introduced the “Great Trade-In” event. This safety program was designed to help get used and potentially unsafe products out of the marketplace by encouraging parents to trade in their old items in exchange for savings on a new item that meets today’s more stringent product safety standards. Since we introduced the program in 2009, nearly half a million cribs, car seats and other baby products have been turned in at our stores nationwide.
The “Great-Trade-In” event continues through September 18 and provides the opportunity to trade-in cribs, car seats, bassinets, strollers, travel systems, play yards, high chairs, kids’ beds, swings, walkers, bouncers and entertainersin exchange for a 25% savings on the purchase of new products in any of these categories, from select manufacturers, at any “R”Us store nationwide.
Toys“R”Us, Inc. continues to stay at the forefront of emerging safety concerns. We are ever mindful that there is nothing more important than the safety of children and understand the trust you place in us to carry the safest of products. For more information on our strong commitment to keeping kids safe, please visit our dedicated Safety website, Toysrus.com/Safety.
Gerald L. Storch
Chairman and CEO
June 28, 2011
TOYS“R”US, INC. APPLAUDS NATION’S TOUGH NEW CRIB SAFETY STANDARDS
WAYNE, NJ – Toys“R”Us, Inc. today applauded the implementation of the nation’s tough new crib safety standards by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
In addition to important new quality and testing requirements, the strengthened standards prohibit the sale of drop-side cribs. As a company dedicated to the safety of children, Toys“R”Us, Inc. made the decision to stop carrying drop-side cribs more than two years ago, eliminating them from its product assortment at the end of 2009.
Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys“R”Us, Inc., said, “There is nothing more important than the safety of children, and we applaud the implementation of these rigorous new standards, which will help parents provide a safer sleeping environment for their babies. As the leading dedicated toy and juvenile products retailer in the United States, Toys“R”Us, Inc. remains committed to providing leadership in working with legislators, regulators, manufacturers and consumer groups in our shared mission to ensure the safety of all children.”
January 26, 2011
Consumer Ally Interview: Toys“R”Us CEO Jerry Storch Talks Safety
By Mitch Lipka
Toys R Us CEO Jerry Storch is proud his stores have collected and destroyed more than 300,000 children's products. There is a reason for the destruction and there is reason for his boasting of it.
Too often there are examples of companies that seem to disregard the safety of consumers -- even child product manufacturers who knowingly leave dangerous products on the market.
So, when a company tries to do something with nod toward safety -- even if it benefits its bottom line -- it's worth noting.
From Friday until Feb. 21, Toys R Us and Babies R Us will once again urge consumers to bring their old children's products to its stores in exchange for 25% off the purchase of a new product. It is a program that does two things: It brings consumers into its stores to make purchases and it offers a carrot for people to get rid of old and potentially dangerous children's products.
Consumer Ally interviewed Toys R Us Storch at the company's over-the-top Times Square store in Manhattan about product safety.
"I don't believe there's a conflict between being a good corporate citizen and being successful in business," Storch said. "That's the kind of brand equity that a good company wants to build with its customers."
Just drawing attention to the staggering amount of recalled products that are unaccounted for -- the vast majority -- is a benefit. Cribs, car seats and other durable children's products are frequently handed down or sold at yard sales long after recalls have been forgotten.
So Storch said the company decided that when these items were turned in, the company had no choice in how to handle them.
"After reviewing all the options, we decided the best thing to do was to destroy them so that they can never be used again," he said. "It's a very expensive process for us. That's why most retailers don't do this."
Nancy Cowles, executive director of the child safety organization Kids in Danger, praised Toys R Us for taking safety seriously. The so-called Great Trade-in Event is just one example, she said.
"Retailers are a crucial stakeholder in children's product safety," Cowles told Consumer Ally. "They are often the first place a consumer turns to learn more about product safety. Toys R Us has been active in developing stronger standards for children's products, taking the initiative to remove unsafe products such as drop-side cribs before required to do so and provide information on recalls and other safety issues to their customers."
While the writing was on the wall, but the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was still nearly a year away from banning dropside cribs, Toys R Us announced that type of crib would no longer be sold in its stores.
"Because we're a retailer, because we're very close to the customer, we don't have to wait until a regulatory agency makes a decision on something. We can move immediately," Storch told Consumer Ally. "We can act as our own safety body. We decided to move and we did."
January 13, 2011
Registration Cards for Children’s Products a Welcome Relief
South Florida Sun Sentinel
Parents have a hard enough time juggling their kids' busy social calendars, keeping on top of their homework duties, not to mention managing the demands of their own work schedules. Keeping track of the millions of recalls on children's products doesn't even make it on most American moms' to-do list.
In the vacuum, far too many unsafe products remain in use by families unaware of the danger to their little ones' health and safety. In the past 10 years, 57 million children's products were recalled for their potential to cause injury or death. And yet a recent Consumer Reports survey found just 20 percent of 2,005 people polled realized they had bought recalled medications, food or other products that could put their family in harm's way.
Thankfully, new federal requirements are going to make it much easier for parents to stay on top of the rapid-fire recalls, but it's going to take a little work on their part.
From now on, 19 different types of long-lasting children's products — from strollers to cribs to playthings — will have to come attached with easy-to-see, postage-free registration cards. They take little time to fill out, cost nothing to send and can't be used to gather customer contact information for advertising. Those who buy the products secondhand can register online. Entered into a required database, the information will allow manufacturers to quickly alert consumers to recalled items.
For busy, safety-conscious parents, the registration system should come as welcome relief. The concern, though, is that a lack of awareness will have the same undermining effect for this program as it has for the many recall efforts.
So some major retailers like Toys R Us are promoting the effort, even initiating a safety awareness campaign that offers parents tips on tracking recalls. Sounds like a responsible business practice, and an effective way to curry customer satisfaction and loyalty. More retailers would give their customers, and themselves, a big boost by getting in on the act.
It says something about the state of product safety in America that such a quick-contact system has to be put in wide-scale use in the event a product is deemed a danger. It says it's happening far too often. Finally, something is being done to make recalls more effective.
Now, if we could improve products on the front end, and make recalls more of an exception than the rule, we'd really be making headway.
BOTTOM LINE: System should come as welcome relief to safety-conscious parents.