McDonald's is recalling millions of activity wristbands that were given out in Happy Meals after getting reports from customers of skin irritations and burns from wearing the colorful plastic bands.
The Step-It Activity Bands were given out in Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals — or Happy Meals for kids with heartier appetites — earlier this month. The world's largest restaurant company stopped handing them out on Aug. 17, after reports of skin irritation surfaced. Now it is recalling any that were already handed out to customers.
"Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our customers which is why upon learning about concerns with these bands we acted swiftly to stop distribution of these products," McDonald's spokeswoman Terri Hickey said in a statement. "We are now asking customers who have the activity bands to stop wearing them and return to any McDonald's for a free replacement toy and a choice of a yogurt or apple slices. We apologize to our customers who were impacted and for the inconvenience this recall has caused."
The recall is a blow to the brand as it has been trying to woo families. The activity bands were seen as a way for McDonald's to promote an active lifestyle, though the chain's vocal critics said kids would be better served with healthier fare. Earlier this month it announced that it had removed high-fructose corn syrup from its sandwich buns and taken artificial preservatives out of items including Chicken McNuggets.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the recall includes 29 million units in the United States and about 3.6 million units in Canada. The recalled products came in two styles: Activity Counter and a motion-activated Light-up Band. The Activity Counter comes in translucent plastic orange, blue or green and features a digital screen that tracks a child's steps or other movement. The Light-up Band comes in translucent plastic red, purple, or orange and blinks light with the child's movement.
McDonald's has received more than 70 reports of incidents, including seven reports of blisters, after wearing the wristbands, according to CPSC.
The bands were manufactured in China, according to CPSC.