Kitty White, a lovable cartoon, has charmed children and adults for 40 years. But now, she’s got some bad publicity. Learn more in this post.
Not too many cartoon characters are more adorable than Kitty White, who appears in Hello Kitty as the main character. She first broke onto the scene in Japan in 1974 and came to the United States not too much later in 1976.
This little girl, who’s depicted as a white Japanese bobtail cat with a red bow, became a global icon worth more than $5 billion per year in 2010 – all without advertising. Now 40 years old, she’s grown so much in popularity that she even has products marketed to adults.
Unfortunately, Ms. White has now been implicated in a consumer product safety issue, although it’s not her fault personally.
McDonald’s produced about 2.5 million red whistles that came with the Happy Meal Hello Kitty Birthday Lollipop Toy. Children can take the whistle off the toy.
It works the same as any other whistle. However, the danger comes in with reports of two children sucking the whistles into their mouths and coughing them out. One of the children needed medical attention, per a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Overall, McDonald’s Chooses To Do the Right Thing
In an age where corporations often weigh risking your health and the resulting lawsuits against their potential profit, McDonald’s chose not to go that route.
Upon notification of the injuries to the two children, they did the following:
- Immediately apologized to the parents of the two children who inhaled the whistles and coughed them out
- Asked parents to take the whistle away from their children
- Offered to substitute the toy for another and give customers a yogurt tube or bag of apple slices
To date, McDonald’s has recovered 70% of the whistles – about 1.6 million. The company also notes the red whistle is the only dangerous toy being recalled. Other Hello Kitty toys are not under recall and are safe for use.
On its website, McDonald’s notes it did test the toy and get approval from a third-party laboratory accredited by the US Consumer Products Safety Commission. It did meet all state and federal requirements. The Chinese supplier who built the whistle, McDonald’s says, had a long-standing track record of meeting their high safety standards. The company also claims to have a strong track record for toy safety (although we can’t speak to that ourselves).
So it may just be one of those unfortunate situations where bad things happen even though everyone did the right thing.
McDonald’s Could Have Done Something Better…
One area where we see McDonald’s could have responded better would have been with the child requiring medical attention. We don’t know if they covered the family’s medical bills or if the parents had any lost wages. No news stories indicate what happened in this regard.
That family may have been able to recover financial compensation in those two respects.