Archive for November 2014
Backlog of manufacturing expected; China, India to provide replacements
Washington, DC, November 24 – Accumulating reports of defects among the approximately four million babies delivered in the US over the last year has prompted federal authorities to issue a recall notice for all children delivered between January and September of this year.
An apparent spike in defect reports became visible in March, when parents began reporting in higher-than-average numbers that their newborn children were not performing to standard. Of special concern, say regulators, was the frequency with which the units were emitting noxious substances from various orifices, which evidently attests to some sort of malfunction and indicated a serious quality control problem on the production line.
While the recall is underway, the six major plants in the US where babies are produced will scale back production, at least until the source of the malfunction can be identified and fixed. Demand for new babies will be satisfied through the importation of units from Asia, mostly China and India, where the surplus of babies has rendered them affordable to American would-be parents, import duties notwithstanding. Domestic trade groups have been pushing for strict controls on imports of foreign babies, but the inability of American baby plants to meet demand has forced those groups to accept a temporary lifting of import limits.
If previous episodes of this nature serve as any indication, say experts, no long-term damage to the American baby-manufacturing sector is to be anticipated. “Some smaller outfits might suffer, but those enterprises don’t seem to be affected by the current quality problems, so they might escape unscathed,” says Hugh Mantraffic-King, a consultant with ties to the industry. “In fact we’re likely to see several of the small-time baby producers step up their game and assert themselves while the big-name manufacturers are unable to produce.”
The most recent recall prior to this one occurred in the 1980’s, when parents began reporting abnormally high levels of autism and other developmental issues in their toddlers. That crop of babies had been manufactured primarily in California and Texas, leading to a months-long, acrimonious lawsuit that ended with a class-action settlement and a fine paid by Storx, then the leading baby manufacturer. Storx filed for bankruptcy in 1990.
In the 1960’s and 70’s, parents demanded the right to return their children after the latter began engaging in obviously defective behavior such as transcendental meditation, wearing bell-bottom trousers, and listening to disco “music.” However, no recall took place, as the units in question were past the warranty period when those defects were observed.