Each year manufacturers announce more than 1,000 recalls of dangerous products, including toys, cars, medicine and food. But because there's no definitive way to inform consumers, many people remain unaware of these recalls and may continue to use an unsafe product. Here are some steps to take to keep yourself informed:
After buying a product, mail in the product registration card or, if it's an option, register online or by phone. Note that although some manufacturers take advantage of the registration process by asking for such things as your income, age or buying habits, you only have to give your contact information and the brand and model number of the product.
Sign up for email alerts with the Consumer Product Safety Commission at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. You can choose to receive all alerts or use the category options to be notified only for recalls of children's, household, outdoor or sports products.
For recalls related to cars, motorcycles, tires and vehicle child restraints, sign up for email notification from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/subscriptions. You can select what products you want to monitor, including specific car models.
For food safety recalls, sign up for email alerts at http://www.foodsafety.gov/recalls/alerts, a website offered by the Department of Health and Human Services. The site also offers an app for smartphones and will feed recall notices to your Internet news reader.
For recalls of medical drugs and devices, go to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website at http://www.fda.gov and select FDA Recall Email Alert. At the next page, you have several choices to be alerted to different kinds of recalls.