McDonald's is recalling 29 million fitness wristbands distributed in Happy Meals after dozens of children reportedly developed skin irritations.
The Oak Brook fast-food giant stopped including the "Step-iT" activity wristbands in meals last week after receiving "limited reports" of skin irritations associated with the wearable step counters. On Tuesday, McDonald's stepped up the count and issued the recall after finding more than 70 incidents, including seven reports of blisters from the wristbands, the company said.
"This is a large recall," said Patty Davis, a spokeswoman with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is working with McDonald's on the recall. "Most recalls that we do don't have any incidents involved at all."
The wristbands, which were made in China, came in translucent plastic orange, blue or green, featured a digital screen that tracked a child's movement and included motion-activated lights.
An effort to promote healthy activity in an unlikely package — Happy Meals — the bands were distributed at McDonald's restaurants nationwide from Aug. 9 through 17. Another 3.6 million of the recalled bands were distributed in Canada.
Customers who bring back their fitness bands can receive a free replacement toy and either a yogurt tube or a bag of apple slices, the company said.
"McDonald's is doing the right thing here," Davis said. "They're recalling a product that has been shown to cause skin irritation and burns when worn by kids."
It is not the first major recall for McDonald's. In 2010, the chain recalled 12 million "Shrek Forever After 3D" collectible drinking glasses after it was found the designs on the glasses contained cadmium, a highly toxic metal and known carcinogen.
In 2002, McDonald's recalled about 100,000 Chicago Bears bobblehead collectibles sold at 400 Chicago-area restaurants because of excessive levels of lead in the paint.