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Stuffed rabbits that pose choking hazard recalled

WASHINGTON—Thousands of stuffed toy bunnies that were sold at dollar and discount stores are being recalled after the discovery of a choking hazard.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Ocean Desert Sales Inc., the Philadelphia-based distributor of the rabbits, announced the recall Wednesday.

The recall, which was voluntary, reflects the safety commission's concern that infants could pull off and try to eat the bunnies' eyes and the buttons on the toys' clothes. About a dozen children a year die from choking on small toy parts, and it's a leading cause of toy-related deaths and injuries, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a nationwide watchdog group that studies toys.

No deaths or injuries have been attributed to the Chinese-made bunnies. About 18,500 were sold from February 2002 to March 2003 for about $1 each.

The toy is 8 inches tall and made of cream-colored yarn. It's dressed in either a skirt or overall shorts of various colors, including pink, purple and turquoise. Buttons are sewn onto the bunny's clothes and a green or pink bow is tied around its neck.

The product may be returned to the retail outlet where it was purchased for a refund. Recovered bunnies will be sent to Ocean Desert Sales in Philadelphia and destroyed.

Independently owned dollar and discount stores on the East Coast sold most of the bunnies, but some may have been sold at similar stores nationwide, said Jason Schiff, vice president of Ocean Desert Sales.

Lizzy Gary, a Consumer Product Safety Commission spokeswoman, said the hazard emerged from routine surveillance and product testing.

To report a possibly dangerous product or product-related injury, call the Consumer Product Safety Commission hot line at 1-800-638-2772.

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(c) 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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