With the start of the holiday shopping season next week and with over 80% of the toys made in China, what is a parent to do? There has been 60 individual toy recalls this year-that is double the amount of recall alerts the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued in 2006. The recalls all fall into three categories: lead content, hazardous chemicals and detachable magnets.
The latest recall came just last week; children from several states were sickened by the Chinese-made toy “Spin Master Aqua Dots”. There is now a massive recall of over 4.2 million of these items in this country alone, but it is distributed in 40 countries worldwide.
The beads are covered with a chemical compound known as gamma hydroxyl butyrate, or the so-called date rape drug. If ingested, it can cause seizure-like spasms, drowsiness, coma or even death in some cases.
Especially at this time of the year, parents everywhere are throwing up the hands and not knowing what is safe and what’s not. According to a survey of 14,000 consumers by the consulting firm of Deloitte & Touche, nearly six in 10 consumers say that the news of product recalls will influence their buying choices this year.
A move in the right direction is the CPSC Reform Act of 2007. This bill was introduced by Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark) and is co-sponsored by Senators Brown, Durbin, Klobuchar, Boxer and Nelson. This bill gives the CPSC more tools and resources to protect our children, it also requires some children’s products, including toys to be tested by independent laboratories. They also would need to meet CPSC safety standards set up by the agency. The act also makes it illegal to sell recalled products, raises penalties for violators, and gives State Attorneys General the ability to enforce the CPSC regulations, including protections for whistleblowers.
Toys injure well over 200,000 children a year and caused 20 deaths in 2005. Choking is the most common cause of death in children under 3, so the rule of thumb is, if the toy can fit in an empty toilet paper roll, then it’s too small for your child It is unlikely you can prevent all toys from coming in your home so parents need to be proactive in safeguarding their children. Watching your child at play is probably one of the best safeguards against injuries and second, checking for toy recalls.
For a complete list of toy and product recalls, visit the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s Website at www.cpsc.gov. There you will get a complete listing of all recalled toys and products and you can also search by manufacturer and make. If your child has been injured or you suspect that a toy is dangerous, you can also report a suspicious toy at this site. In addition, the U.S. Public Interest Group has a site, www.uspirg.org that has several pamphlets on general tips about buying toys and toy safety issues. You may also sign up for their free email alert so you can be one of the first to know if a toy is recalled.
If you’ve already bought a toy before it has been recalled, you can always take it back to the retailer you purchased it from. It is their responsibility to deal with the manufacturer, not yours. If the toy has already been recalled, the retailers have a “do not sell” written into the barcode so that even if the toy is on the shelf, you couldn’t get it past the register. However, many toys are sold before the recalls ever happen.
I hope for this season, for your family’s safety and mine. If your child has sustained personal injury, call us and we will make sure the manufacturere and distributor do not continue their pracrttice of selling our saftey for a profit. Call us at 1-888-752-7474 or Contact us.
Lastly, they is a disturbing trend of online auctions selling recalled toys and products. If you do your holiday shopping this way, it’s important to know which products are dangerous before you go online. Enjoy your holiday shopping this year but be cautious for recalled toys.