McDonald's drops wearable over claims it can cause rash

Ronald McDonald Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption McDonald's said the wearable could cause skin irritation

A health tech gadget McDonald's was giving away to children with meals has been withdrawn over safety concerns.

The fast food chain was giving away the Step-It activity tracker, which is worn on the wrist, with Happy Meals.

But there were fears that the devices caused skin irritation, so they will be replaced with a different toy, the company said.

Other wearable tech firms have also had problems with their gadgets causing rashes in the past.

McDonald's was marketing the wristbands in the US and Canada as a way to help keep children active.

They were designed to measure the wearer's movement and used blinking lights to indicate how quickly or slowly the person was moving.

The release was timed to coincide with the US school holidays and the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

It was reportedly a bid to improve the image of the restaurant, which has been associated with unhealthy eating.

'Skin irritations'

McDonald's US representative Terri Hickey said on Thursday the firm had taken the "swift" step of removing them "after receiving limited reports of potential skin irritations that may be associated from wearing the band".

"Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers and we are fully investigating this issue.

"Our restaurants are now offering our youngest guests an alternative Happy Meal toy," added Hickey.

In February last year, Fitbit - one of the best known wearable fitness tracker manufacturers - acknowledged that its Surge device could cause rashes.

It told the news website TechCrunch that users were advised to take a break from wearing them.

That came after it had to withdraw some of its older Force models after some users said it had caused skin rashes.

The Associated Press reported that the activity tracker bands were still available at one New York City location on Wednesday.

The bag said the toys were made in China.

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