I’m rubbing it: McDonald’s wearable recalled over skin irritation

19 Aug 2016

One of McDonald’s first forays into the wearables market has backfired, with a new activity tracker wearable distributed in its Happy Meals recalled over complaints of skin irritations.

With the Olympics in Brazil still in full swing, McDonald’s marketing department wanted to release fitness-tracking wearables called Step It! in kids’ Happy Meals to help them count their daily steps.

According to McDonald’s original concept, the Step It! would come in six different varieties and with three different bands that would light up and flash at various speeds, depending on the speed of the child’s walking.

Future Human

In a series of adverts that have now been removed from YouTube, McDonald’s showed children having dance-offs and running competitions wearing the wristbands, which were far removed from the high-end fitness wearables like Fitbit.

However, after just one week, children in the US and Canada – where it was released – will no longer be able to get their hands on the Step It! wearables following a decision to issue a recall on all devices.

Step It! wearables

Image via McDonald’s

McDonald’s responds

This is because McDonald’s received a number of complaints from parents that the company’s wearables were causing skin irritations on their children.

Speaking to PCMag, a McDonald’s spokesperson said: “We are voluntarily removing the Step It! Activity Band Happy Meal toys in our [US and Canadian] restaurants.

“We have taken this swift and voluntary step after receiving limited reports of potential skin irritations that may be associated with wearing the band.”

The statement continued: “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers and we are fully investigating this issue.

In the meantime, McDonald’s has said it will offer an alternative toy to children in Happy Meals.

This wouldn’t be the first wearable fitness tracker to deal with complaints of skin irritation as Fitbit was forced to recall its Charge 2 wearable over similar skin irritation complaints last year.

McDonald’s sign image via Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic