Toys R Us: Trade in your baby gear

The retailer will give a 20% discount to shoppers who bring in used cribs, car seats and high chairs.

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By Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com staff reporter

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Toys R Us Inc. has launched a trade-in program for potentially unsafe used cribs and other baby gear, the toy giant announced Wednesday.

Between Aug. 28 and Sept. 20, all Babies R Us and Toys R Us locations nationwide will accept returns of any used cribs, car seats, bassinets, strollers, travel systems, play yards and high chairs.

In exchange, shoppers will receive 20% off the purchase of any new item in those product categories, from select manufacturers.

"We are all looking for ways to stretch our dollars, but in doing so, children's safety should not be compromised," said chief executive Jerry Storch. "[It's important to be] vigilant about potentially unsafe children's items that may still be in the marketplace."

Getting rid of unsafe gear

The trade-in offer aims to educate consumers that certain baby items should not be reused or resold. The program also seeks to call attention to the fact that only 30% of recalled baby products are ever actually returned, the company said, which means that many dangerous items remain in circulation.

Beyond recalls due to safety hazards, used baby products can pose further dangers, Toys R Us noted. For example, the materials that car seats are made of can break down over time, making the product less effective in a crash.

Advocacy group Kids in Danger, which spoke with Toys R Us while the company was planning the trade-in event, said 103 "juvenile products" including cribs, strollers and toys have been recalled so far this year.

"The trade-in is a good effort among many that are needed [to improve safety], and retailers can be an important player," said Nancy Cowles, spokeswoman for Kids in Danger.

"But it would be easier to get safe products on the market in the first place," she noted, adding that many recalled children's products actually do meet safety standards -- which suggests that tighter guidelines are necessary.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission enacted a new safety improvement act in 2008. The new standards will be phased in over the next few years and should help make children's products safer, Cowles said.  To top of page

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