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Toxic Toys-Consumer Guide

Updated on April 13, 2015

Product Safety Laws

On August 14th, 2008, the product safety law was finally passed. This bill, signed by President Bush, bans lead paint and phthalates in products intended for children under the age of 12 – the strictest such law in the world. There were a record setting 448 recalls in 2008, about 50 percent of those recalls, involved our children.

The new law bans six different kinds of phthalates – chemicals that make plastics more flexible. These chemicals have been linked with reproductive damage. Phthalates can be found in dozens of baby and child products, including bath toys and baby lotions.

Toys Must now be tested before they are sold

We came to think that when we bought a toy for our child, especially if the toy was from a major maufacturer, we could count on that toy being safe. At least that is what we thought.

You remember that movie where the parents said, "you'll shoot your eye out" . And you remember what happened when that little boy got that gift that he really wanted, but wasn't all that safe. While we are well intended when we give gifts, sometimes we need to give a little more thought to our purchases

The facts are that in 2005 nearly 73,000 children under age 5 were sent to the hospital emergency rooms. 20 children died from toy related injury according to government statistics.

The problem started when companies were outsourcing work to other countries. These toys that were imported did not have the controls and safety testing that those in our own country might have.

Now it is coming to light that many of these toys have been manufactured poorly. That non spec paints and parts have been built into them. Who would have known till now the end result.

Let the buyer beware! Birthdays, holidays, special occasions make us think of that special toy that our children or grandchild has been dreaming about. Because of the numerous recalls, you should be checking your list more than once or twice.

How To Protect Your Kids From Dangerous/And Or Toxic Toys

  • Look for any jewelry made of metal, plastic or wood. You know the kind often seen in the dollar stores.
  • Be suspicious and cautious of any toys made in China, where lead is frequently used in manufacturing. Look for where the item is made and until everything is sorted out, I simply would not buy it
  • Look for items like bibs and lunch boxes that are made of PVC or vinyl free.
  • Buy a lead test kit available at most hardware and home stores. You get about 8 swabs for $20. While the strips are not foolproof, you may want to test older toys. When in doubt, throw it out. Try to keep toys out of your children's mouthes
  • Choking is the biggest hazard in children under 3 years old. Make sure that all toys in this age group are age appropriate. No small parts or items that can be put into their little mouths. Check all wheels and buttons on doll/ stuffed animals to make sure that they can't be readily pulled off. Take a toilet paper cardboard roll. If a piece is small enough to slip through it, it should be considered a choking hazard for a small child

Recent Toy Safety News

Tests on more than 1200 children’s products were conducted by a coalition of enviormental health groups across the country.

According to the report by the Associated Press on December 6th, only 20 % of the tested toys had no trace of lead or harmful chemicals.

35 % of the tested toys conatin lead, many levels far above the federal standards used for lead paint. According to this report, 17% of these products had levels of lead that would trigger a recall of lead paint.

Testers purchased most of the toys at local retailers such as Wal;mart, Toys R Us and Babies R Us.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 40 toy recalls in fiscal year 2006, on;y three involving lead paint. In 2007, there were 61 toy recalls, 19 involving lead paint.

Toy Safety Tips

Here are some safety tips that you should consider when buying any toys

  • Look for toy labels that give age and safety recommendations and use that information as a guide.
  • Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest levels of the intended child.
  • For children under 3, avoid toys with small parts, which could cause choking
  • For children under 6, avoid sets with small magnets, which could casuse serious injury or death if swallowed
  • For children under 8, avoid toys with sharp edges and points
  • Helmets and safety gear should fit properly and be worn by children using riding toys, such as skateboards and inline skates.
  • Improper use of projectile toys, such as rockets or darts, could result in serious eye injury. These toys should be for older children
  • Battery chargers and adapters can pose a burn hazard for children.Adults should supervise charging batteries and pay attention to warnings on chargers.
  • Immeadiately discard palstic wrapping on toys.
  • Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger children
  • All toys that have fabric should have a tag that shows they are flame resistant or flame retardant
  • All stuffed toys should be washable
  • All painted toys should be painted with led free paint
  • All art materials should say non-toxic

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