Danger Lurking In Thrift Shop?

Hidden dangers may be lurking in your favorite thrift store, reports The Early Show Co-Anchor Jane Clayson.

A study released Wednesday morning by the Consumer Product Safety Commission says thrift shops nationwide are often selling dangerous, recalled items.

"Our study found in almost 70 percent of thrift stores, there were items that were either recalled, had been recalled, banned or [that] didn't meet current safety standards," says Ann Brown, commission chairman. "That means they're hazardous items and could injure or kill."

When the agency issues a recall, it can arrange to have the products removed from store shelves. But often the products stay in people's homes. When people eventually decide to get rid of such items, they don't remember that it's dangerous and give it to a secondhand market.

Outerwear with strings can harm tots.

Here is a few examples.
  • In 51 percent of the thrift stores, the Consumer Product Safety Commission found children's outerwear with strings. Manufacturers no longer make kid clothing with strings, and retail stores no longer sell them. Children can get them caught in school bus doors or on playground equipment and be strangled.
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  • Hair dryers now come with a flat plug. That means if you drop it in water, you don't get electrocuted. In thrift stores, the agency found hair dryers being sold without flat plugs.
  • Cribs with wide spaces between the slats are dangerous because children can fall through or get their heads stuck and be strangled. Cribs decorated with finials could be hazardous because children's clothing can get caught on them. Forty children a year die in cribs like that, Brown says.
  • Halogen lamps now come with wire guards, because halogen lights are hot and if they are unprotected, they can cause bedding and curtains to catch fire.
  • A baby swing, recalled in 1997, came with straps in a configuration that was a strangling hazard. Century Products Co. of Macedonia, Ohio, is offering a $30 cash reward for the repair of each Lil' Napper infant swing. The company also will send an entire replacement seat.
  • Playpens with protruding rivets are dagerous because children's clothing get caught and they can be strangled.
For further information, including a thrift store safety checklist, visit the commission's Web site or call its hotline at 800-638-2772.