Thursday, July 19, 2007

Easy Bake Ovens and half-baked parents

Regarding the most recent recall of Easy Bake ovens based on the product's designation as a burn hazard by a government safety agency, I have one question:

Where are the parents when these five-year-old children stick their hands into the business end of a baking device?

There is no excuse for this lack of adult supervision. Because common sense apparently isn't adequate (or common) enough, Hasbro included in each oven's packaging an explicit warning clause, and yet another warning is stamped into the plastic of the oven door cover. Additionally, both the box and the instructions inside clearly state that this product is intended for children ages 8 and up. The words "adult supervision" appear in the oven's instructions as well as the instructions included in every package of Easy Bake mix. It is a shame that a reputable company that did everything right now has to recall thousands of its adequately performing units resulting in unjust damage to its reputation and its bottom line. Why? Because somebody wasn't watching the kids.
Parents, not Hasbro, are to blame for the injuries these children sustained. It is terrible that children were hurt, some permanently, by their parents' neglect. It is an ever greater shame that these children have learned--by their parents' example--how to shift the responsibility for and consequences of their actions on to others.

I just called the toll free number provided for the recall to voice my support for Hasbro and its Easy Bake products. After providing my zip code, I informed the friendly operator that I had no intention of returning our Easy Bake oven. We love it! Why would we give it back? She politely explained that I had to honor the recall and relinquish the oven, but after asking a few questions about which model we had, she realized that our model was not affected by the recall. That was good, I explained, because we weren't giving it back anyway. There is nothing wrong with it. It does exactly what it is made to do: bake in miniature--which requires heat from a lightbulb that is hot enough to, you know, bake.

Today, I am going to spend time baking and decorating Recall Protest Cookies in our Easy Bake Oven with my daughter. I'd like to encourage the Easy Bake families out there to do the same. And while you're preheating, contact Hasbro and offer support for this well-loved, decades-old product.

Dagny decorating Recall Protest Cookies in February.


Alasandra said...

I loved the one I had when I was little. I felt so grown up being able to make my Daddy a cake.

Chris said...

The article was a little short on details. How exactly does a child keep his hand on a light bulb long enough to cause permanent damage? That would suggest that the arm was trapped somehow, or that the kid is a superhero who is impervious to pain.

My daughter found the Easy Bake dreadfully boring. She much preferred baking with the real oven. And you know, it's pretty much impossible to get your hand stuck in the real oven. If it is happening more frequently than it used to with the EZ Bake, I don't think the recall is necessarily out of order. Every once in a while, even if by accident, government does do something right.

Wisteria said...

Product liability claims are completely out of control. The company for which I work was once sued because someone stuck their hand under a lawnmower with the blade going and a couple of fingers were damaged. There are stickers all over the mowers saying that putting your hands under the mower could result in amputation or other serious injury. The owner's manual has two plus pages of warnings. Yet, because so few people believe the laws of nature apply to them senseless injuries occur and the companies pay huge insurance premiums or go out of business.

In other words, I agree with you. You are responsible for your five year old and your eight year old. If they are injured using a product designed for older children with adult supervision, then don't assuage your guilt by blaming it on someone else.

Use common sense with any product.

Daryl Cobranchi said...

Not so fast, Natalie. The recall only covers ovens produced in the last year or so. Evidently there was a design change somewhere along the way.

teacher of one said...

We have the recalled oven. I share your response about parent supervision. DS5 got it last Christmas... He loves spending an hour to make 2 bites. LOL

Chris asked about details.
It is the range shaped oven and yes kids are sticking their hands in the opening and the metal door is dropping and trapping their hand inside.

We got our retro-fit piece (a plastic door that fits over the opening with MORE warnings) last week after months of backorder. For our wait we received two packets of mix. BONUS

Natalie said...

Although ours is not a part of the recall, it has a metal door hinged at the top similar (though I suppose not necessarily identical) to those of the recalled ovens.

The concept is the same, though. The little door, which gets hot as heck, opens when the slider pushes the little pan through and closes when the slider is removed. Kids are getting their hands caught by their wrinkly knuckles when they try to pull--or in the case of injury, yank--their hands out.

The point is this: There should be NO HANDS in the oven, period. If there has been an increase in injury, Daryl, it is likely because there is a decrease in supervision.

The product is fine.

Erin said...

I agree completely, Natalie! I bought my daughter one when she was 8, and it has been recalled. I, however, have absolutely no intention of returning it. It doesn't matter how many "design changes" were made, I'm positive that none of them came with a "Ok, Folks...NOW it should be safe to leave your kids alone with this thing..." Defective product? No Sir. Defective parenting is the ONLY thing to blame.

Lisa said...

We don't have one but my first thought was, where were the parents? Thats not a toy to just toss in the bedroom and let the kid play. People really need to think a little.

debra said...

I always wanted an Easy Bake Oven--never did have one. D'ya think it's too late?