WASHINGTON — When Terrence M. Scanlon's children suggested lunch at McDonald's recently, the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission expected only a quick hamburger. Instead, that lunch stop led to a safety warning on Monday.
McDonald's and the safety commission are calling on parents of children under age 3 who have received Lego building set toys as part of Happy Meals sold at the restaurants to return the toys for replacement.
The Lego toy promotion began on Oct. 31 and is scheduled to run for five weeks, or until stocks of the toy are used up, McDonald's spokesmen said.
A spokeswoman for the national fast-food chain said Duplo building sets will be offered as replacements.
Poses Choking Hazard
Both toys are made by the Lego Co., but the Duplo toys are designed for smaller children and do not contain parts small enough to pose a choking hazard.
Both types of building toys are being offered as a promotion, with Legos for older children and Duplo sets for the younger ones. Parents have the option to choose, McDonald's spokeswoman Stephanie Skurdy explained. Some parents may not have been aware of this choice, or the Duplo toys may not have been available in every instance, she said.
Scanlon said that when his children, ages 8, 13 and 14, suggested McDonald's for lunch one day, week before last, he agreed. While waiting, he noticed that Lego toys were being given to parents of "really tiny kids."
Scanlon obtained one of the sets and sent it to the safety commission's compliance officials to see if it met government regulations.
It did not, and McDonald's was contacted.
Once informed of the problem, "they have acted very responsibly," Scanlon said, noting the company's offer to exchange the toys.
Two incidents of children ingesting parts from the Lego set have been reported, but neither involved an injury, Scanlon said.
The Lego building sets have a colored border on the box and there is a warning on the front panel stating that the set contains small parts and is not intended for children under age 2. The Duplo set has a dotted border.
Persons needing further information may call McDonald's at 312-575-6198 or the safety commission at 800-638-2772.