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Consumer Confidential: Consumer thrift, booster seats, bad medicine

December 22, 2009 |  9:21 am

Here's your terrifically Tuesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--If you want to know how consumers are feeling, ask Mr. Ketchup. The head of H.J. Heinz Co., William Johnson, says that from where he sits, he sees an ongoing commitment to thrift on the part of consumers. "To say that consumers will return to historic norms is disingenuous," he says. To accommodate this trend, Johnson says businesses will have to focus more on incentives such as coupons. Lower prices probably wouldn't hurt either.

--Is your kid's booster seat safe? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety -- yes, there is such a thing -- has looked at some of the leading models and issued its recommendations. The group's best bets include the Combi Dakota backless with clip, Recaro Young Sport highback (combination seat), Recaro Vivo highback and Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR dual-use highback. The main things the institute was looking for were booster seats that place the lap belt flat across a child's upper thighs and position the shoulder belt at mid-shoulder.

--Heads up: Procter & Gamble is recalling about 700,000 packages of Vicks Dayquil Cold & Flu Liquicaps because they don't meet safety standards for child-resistant packaging. The boxes also don't say "This Package for Households Without Young Children," as required by the Poison Prevention Packaging Act. Anyone who bought one of the offending packages can return it for a full refund.

-- David Lazarus