Hasbro, the company that makes Big Hugs Elmo, has reiterated its commitment to safety after complaints over battery problems with the popular toy Big Hugs Elmo, but the company won't publicly disclose the number of defective Elmos.

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Dave Waterhouse told CBC last week he bought the toy as a Christmas present. But as soon as he put batteries in, the plastic casing began to split.

Waterhouse tried three sets of batteries in all, but each time the same thing happened.

He urged other parents to check their Big Hugs Elmos to make sure their children are safe.

After that story aired on CBC Nova Scotia, the newsroom received other similar complaints.

Big Hugs Elmo

Parents should check their Big Hug Elmos to make sure their children are safe, urged Waterhouse. (Hasbro Canada/Canadian Toy Association)

Waterhouse had hoped Hasbro would issue a public advisory to warn parents but that has not happened.

In an email to CBC News Monday, the company reiterated its commitment to safety and said “all of our products meet or exceed all applicable global product safety regulations and standards.”

The company would not however disclose how many over-heated battery complaints it has received about the toy.

Of course we keep precise customer service records but we don’t publicly break out the various types of inquiries we receive from consumers about our products,” the company said in an email.

Hasbro said they “will gladly send a replacement product or refund their purchase as our sincere apology for the inconvenience.”

What some people may not know is that consumers can file complaints with the federal government if a toy or any other consumer product poses a safety risk.

Health Canada regulates and recalls toys and other products. Its website shows hundreds of children's products have been recalled in recent years. The items include stuffed gingerbread men with eyes that can detach and pose a choking hazard, safety gates that aren't safe and hair clips that contain too much lead.

Health Canada said once it receives a complaint it is prioritized according to the health and safety risk, but it can't say how long a particular investigation will take.  

Waterhouse said he plans to file a formal complaint with Health Canada.

Hasbro is asking consumers to return defective Big Hugs Elmos for a refund — but you may want to think twice about that since it's likely Health Canada will want to independently examine the toy to determine if it's defective.