Phil & Teds recall more than 15,000 teddy bears over choking hazard fears
Thousands of sick children are being told to throw out the teddy bear they were given in hospital.
Phil & Teds are recalling 15,300 'phil&teddy' Teddy Bears, which were handed out to children in Wellington, Christchurch and Waikato hospitals between 2010 and 2015, after they were deemed to be a choking hazard.
The recall was prompted by a complaint made to the Commerce Commission about fur coming off a teddy bear in February.
A Commerce Commision spokeswoman said subsequent tests found that seams on some of the bears may come apart exposing the stuffing. It also found that the fur was easily coming off the neck of the bear.
"Both the stuffing and the fur may pose a potential choking hazard to children under 36 months and that is likely to breach the mandatory product safety standard that applies to toys intended for use by children under three years."
There had been no reports of children choked on the teddy bear stuffing yet.
In a statement, Phil & Ted said: "It has recently come to our attention that the bear fuzz may come loose and/or the seam may split exposing the filing material. To avoid any potential risk children should stop using their 'phil&teddy' Teddy Bear and parents should dispose of the bear."
Phil & Ted said the bears were gifted to the children as part of their sponsorship of a charity. They were given out to each child undergoing surgery at Wellington, Christchurch and Waikato Hospitals, as part of their 'phil&teddy' Teddy Bear programme.
"The idea was to help put a smile on a child's face and to provide a friend for comfort during a scary time. Their 'phil&teddy' Teddy Bear is there to make a child's recovery just a little bit more 'bear-able'."
The bears were also used as an explanatory aid by surgeons when talking to a child about their procedure, they said.
The 'phil&teddy' Teddy Bear, which were imported from China, is dressed in a hospital gown and has the words 'phil&teddy' printed on the front and 'phil&teds' on the back.
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) trading standards senior adviser Martin Rushton said as far as their records show, there had never been a recall for teddy bear in past.
The Commission was considering whether any further enforcement action was appropriate.