March 6, 2001 -- In the end, the "Scooter Bug" gave some parents the jitterbug.
Measuring a mere three inches long with a sunny yellow face, bright pink antennae and florescent orange little feet, the "Scooter Bug" looked like an ideal free gift with a McDonald's Happy Meal.
But the little toy proved not to be such a happy experience for children and parents alike.
Four months after the fast-food super giant began distributing the Fisher Price toy free at restaurants in the U.S. and Canada, McDonald's, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), announced the voluntary recall of about 234,000 "Scooter Bug" toys.
The recall came after McDonald's received reports of three children experiencing problems with the toy.
"Two children choked on the toy," said Kim Dulic, a CPSC spokeswoman, "and one child gagged on the broken off antenna."
A spokesman for McDonald's said the company was able to stop more than half the toys produced from reaching customers. "We produced around 500,000 toys for distribution, but were able to stop about half the toys from being distributed at the restaurant or distribution center level," said William Whitman, a spokesman for McDonald's.
The recall, said Whitman, came immediately after the company completed an investigation into the complaints.
There were no reports of any serious injuries, Whitman added.
The toy, which has legs that move back and forth when rolled on the floor, was only given to customers with children aged three and under and was not part of an ongoing promotion.
In 1982, McDonald's recalled nearly 10 million Playmobil toys after the company found the toys failed to comply with CPSC's regulation designed to prevent choking hazards to children under three.
The toys included a sheriff, an Indian, a sheriff's horse, an "umbrella girl" and a farmer. Clients were given a box of McDonald's cookies, a cone or a refund in exchange for the toys.
In May 1992, McDonald's notified its customers of the possibility of a choking hazard on its "Doc DeLorean Car," which was also distributed with their Happy Meals.
The notification came after it was found that some children managed to yank off the car's tires and pop it into their mouths.
The wheels of the car did not come off during McDonald's laboratory safety tests.