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McDonald’s recalls Happy Meal Toys due to choking hazard

McDonaldsHello+KittyLARGEMcDonald’s Happy Meals weren’t so happy for children choking on parts of toys found inside. McDonald’s is recalling about 2.3 million Hello Kitty whistle toys that were distributed with Happy Meals because they pose a choking hazard.

The toy is a red whistle that comes with the Happy Meal Hello Kitty Birthday Lollipop toy: a plastic Hello Kitty figurine holding a pink heart-shaped lollipop. The bag in which the toy is packaged includes the text “Hello Kitty Birthday Lollipop” and the number “6” in the upper right corner. The whistle part of the toy can be removed, posing a choking hazard.

According to CNN, McDonald’s received two reports of children who sucked the whistles into their mouths and coughed out pieces. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that one child needed medical attention. The safety agency said that parts of the whistle can detach and be inhaled.

The Associated Press reported that about 2.5 million of the whistles were manufactured, but most were not yet sent to restaurants. McDonald’s has recovered about 1.6 million of the whistles, including those that didn’t make it to its stores. The toys were distributed in Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals throughout the United States and Canada in October and part of November.

According to the New York Department of Health, choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional death in children under the age of 5. Children under the age of 5 are at greatest risk for choking injury and death. Science Daily reported that the majority of choking-related incidents among children are associated with food, coins and toys.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that childhood choking hazards should be addressed through comprehensive and coordinated prevention activities. The organization recommends that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission should increase efforts to ensure that toys that are sold in retail store bins, vending machines, or on the Internet have appropriate choking-hazard warnings. They also recommend that current gaps in choking-prevention standards for children’s toys should be reevaluated and addressed.

The AAP reports that of all children’s products, latex balloons are the leading cause of choking deaths, and most of these fatalities are among children younger than 6. They pose a particular hazard because of their ability to conform to the child’s airway and form an airtight seal. In addition to conforming objects, round or cylindrical objects, such as balls, marbles, and spherical toys or toy parts pose the greatest risk of choking deaths. When these objects are close to the same diameter as a child’s airway, they can completely block the airway and be difficult to dislodge.

Choking risk to children younger than 3 is the most common reason for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a recall notice for a children’s product, according to the AAP. However, the effectiveness of children’s product recalls is low, with consumers generally returning only 10% to 30% of sold infant products after they have been recalled. These products are also commonly resold on online auction websites.

If you have purchased a Happy Meal with the recalled toy, immediately take the toy away from your child. You can also return it to McDonald’s for a replacement.

If your child has been injured by a recalled toy or another toy that posed a choking hazard, call the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. For more information visit

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