A popular Fisher Price toy "started smoking" as a local mother changed its batteries and at least ten others have seen the same problem with the Soothe & Glow Seahorse.
The toy is a favorite of Triana Burdick's children.
"They always liked listening to it, falling asleep," she said.
She felt the seahorse get warm during the battery swap, and heard a strange sizzling sound. The battery coil heated up, and started smoking.
"It was melting the plastic on the inside here," Burdick said. "The first thought that went through my head was 'like oh my God, it could have caught fire. It could have caught a blanket in her bed on fire.'"
In the last 16 months, several complaints were filed with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Amazon.com lists dozens of product reviews with similar concerns about the toy.
"The toy just suddenly started burning," one review said.
"Does a house have to burn down before they recall this thing?" another review said.
Dr. David Gao, University of Denver electrical engineering professor, explored the toy's danger potential.
He changed the batteries, and the coil started to turn red as he loaded the last battery. Smoke poured from the compartment, and the plastic began to melt.
"I think this product should be recalled," Gao said.
Fisher Price has quietly addressed the problem, but not including the toys currently in homes. However, the seahorse currently on sale on Amazon.com uses two batteries. Burdick's seahorse and the examples online pertain to the same seahorse, but one that needed three batteries.
Fisher Price refused to acknowledge the change, and said a recall was outside the company's plans.
A spokesperson for Fisher Price said that "a very small percentage of customers have experienced an issue with this product" and "the seahorse is safe."