WASHINGTON — The government warned today that tens of thousands of tabletop feeding chairs for babies and toddlers are not safe.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says children could be hurt in certain versions of the "metoo" clip-on tabletop chairs imported by Colorado-based phil&teds USA Inc. The CPSC says numerous children — believed to be about a dozen — have been injured.
The chairs have metal clamps that attach to most table tops, such as a restaurant table. The CPSC says those clamps can easily come loose, causing the chair to detach and sending the child plummeting to the floor.
Fingers or hands can also be pinched or crushed when the chairs partially detach from a table, catching a child's fingers or hands between the clamp and a metal bar on the front of the chair.
The commission says the company refused to agree to a national recall that was acceptable to the agency.
A call to the company in Fort Collins seeking comment was not immediately returned.
The clip-on chairs involved in the commission's warning do not have plastic spacers between the table clamps and the front metal bar.
The company also has clip-on chairs with plastic spacers between the clamps and bar — and those chairs are under investigation, the CPSC said.
On its website, the company is offering rubberized grips to cover the chair's clamps. CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson says the grip replacement kits being offered by phil&teds will not keep children safe in the seat.
"Even with those rubber boots, the chair can still slip off a table," said Wolfson. "We believe the company needs to come up with a free remedy that will prevent children from falling or having an amputation hazard if one side of the chair detaches."
The commission said the company had claimed on its website to be offering the replacement kits in cooperation with the CPSC. The commission says there was no such agreement and maintains the kits fail to keep children safe in the chair.
The "metoo" chairs have been sold at nationwide retailers such as Target and Toys R Us as well as online.