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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the organization dedicated to ensuring consumer products are safe, recently reported that recalls of child toys are down.
That’s likely because there are plenty of stringent guidelines that companies must take into consideration when they are producing consumer goods, especially children’s toys. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean that every single new toy this holiday season is going to be safe for children. That is why parents and other adults who buy toys must remain vigilant.
Our product liability lawyers have seen children injured or killed because of bad products. And, sadly, it usually takes a tragic accident or more than one incident before companies voluntarily recall products that are defective.
And sometimes it requires more than one accident before companies are willing to admit fault. They are sometimes forced into it by the CPSC and other safety organizations. Manufacturers of toys and other products realize that a recall means bad public relations and a big loss of money. Yet, they don’t consider the harm that can be done to the consumers they are catering to — children.
The recent press release reports that stronger federal rules about production of toys and other children’s goods are helping to restore the public’s confidence in toy safety. There are some new toy safety guidelines:
- Low lead content and lead paint limits worldwide
- A stringent limit on phthalates
- Converting voluntary toy standards into mandatory standards
- Third-party testing required and certification for toys aimed at children 12 and younger
- New limits for cadmium in toys
- Tracking shipments with border protection agencies to increase seizure of dangerous imported toys
Since 2008, there has been a decrease in the number of toy recalls. In the fiscal year for 2011, there were 34 recalls, down from 46 the year before, 50 in 2009 and 172 in 2008.
Small balls, rubber balls and balloons were attributed for nearly half of the 17 fatalities reported in 2010. That was up 2 from 2009. This shows that there are still inherent risks for certain types of toys. Consumers must use common sense when considering which toy to buy.
Some safety tips for consumers:
Balloons: Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons, so throw them away if they’re broken.
Small balls and toys with small parts: Keep away from children under 3.
Scooters and riding toys: They can go fast and falls can be fatal. Require helmets and safety gear.
Magnets: For children under 6, avoid toys with magnets.
Everyone wants their children to enjoy the toys we buy them, but we don’t want them to be harmed. Take a common sense approach to products that you may question as being dangerous. Regulators can only do so much to make a difference. Your children are relying on you.
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