Health: Is my child’s toy safe?

By Debbie Bell, Published:

It is that time of year again when parents are frantically in search of the season’s hottest toy. While your first goal may be to acquire the object of the child’s newest desire, experts suggest first exploring the safety of the toy.

Each year the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) receives approximately 10,000 reports from buyers regarding unsafe toys. CPSC is charged with “protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction” of which toys and children’s items often head the list.

By visiting the CPSC website at www.cpsc.gov a parent can register for free email alerts which generate each time a toy or a children’s product is recalled by the agency. In addition to providing a list of the most recent recalls from the CPSC, there are photographs accompanying the toy and description so that the item can be identified right away.

Other steps that will ensure safer toys include: adhering to age recommendations, trying to break the child’s toy and paying extra attention when purchasing secondhand toys. Generally a toy manufacturer will know their product. If it states, “not for children younger than 3,” then it isn’t appropriate for toddlers because of the inclusion of small pieces that can be easily lodged in a child’s throat.

Consider ways that you could potentially misuse the toy and while doing so check to see if it disassembles. Most children will be a step ahead of you in this area. Finally, getting a great deal on a gently used childhood favorite can be exhilarating; however, it is still a good idea to check out the secondhand toy on the CPCS site before giving it to your child.

In the event you encounter a dangerous toy that hasn’t previously made the recall list, it is your right to report this to the CPSC. Consumers who report dangerous toys assist in removing faulty, poisonous or even deadly toys from store shelves and children’s playrooms. Filing an incident report through the CPSC is simple and takes only a few minutes.

There need not be an injury to report a faulty toy. Patrons can identify an issue and report the proposed danger and CPSC can proceed. They will handle contacting the manufacturer and investigating your complaint.

If you find that you possess a recalled toy within your home, cash in on those manufacturers’ efforts to refund your money or replace a toy at their cost. Some toy companies outsource their manufacturing to other companies that will not hold to their high quality standards.

By making a less expensive toy they can offer items at lower prices, too often sacrificing safety. Routine rebates can be costly and will affect a manufacturers’ bottom line. This could be the only way the large toy companies will see that parents are serious and invested in ensuring safe toys.

For additional information or to sign up for free safety news and recall notifications emails visit the CPSC website at www.cpsc.gov.

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