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Toy Safety - Word To The Wise

Lead in my daughter's Mickey Mouse glasses, how could that be?   You'd think a company as large as the Walt Disney Corporation would have a better handle on such things.   As recently as this month, Disney issued a recall on 12,900 pairs of red sunglasses sold as a set along with character caps. You can find the recall and product photo here: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml05/05254.html I don't know about anyone else, but I find this shocking and very frightening.   Our family has never been to Disney World, but my three daughters all received Mickey Mouse sunglasses as a souvenir gift from a family friend a few years back.   This makes me wonder, did THOSE glasses contain lead? (One of the most TOXIC substances a child could possibly encounter.)

Unfortunately, the truth is, as with all things concerning our children's safety, it is our responsibility as parents to research and learn about those things which are unsafe. We just can't rely on the toy manufacturers to be forthright with such information.   And, furthermore, once a product has been purchased, it would be virtually impossible for the manufacturing companies to contact us to let us know something is awry. Oh, and, parents, don't think the hazardous lead toys are limited to 'plastic' toys.   Target issued a recall on some of their WOODEN dollhouse pieces. You can read about that here: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml01/01219.html .  

What can you do to protect your child?

Before purchasing a toy, or before giving your child a toy purchased by someone else, take a quick look at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissions Toy Hazards List: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/category/toy.html When friends or relatives ask what to buy as a gift for your child, suggest that they take a look at that list also.   An email to friends and family with that link would be a good way to get the word out, and may get passed along to more parents in the process.  

If your child is under the age of 3, pay special attention to the age warning on products with small parts.   If there are older children in your household, make sure they know to keep such toys away from their younger family members.

Some of the most hazardous toys are the most common - uninflated balloons or parts of balloons are a choking hazard for children of any age, marbles and small balls, toys with sharp edges.

For older children, you want to make sure they play with their toys safely - such as wearing a helmet when riding a scooter or bicycle and playing with toys the way in which they were intended to be played with.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, " Last year, an estimated 140,700 children were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms after toy-related incidents and 13 children died." These accidents are preventable.   It's up to us as parents and consumers to check these things and spread the word--especially with the 2005 Holiday season fast approaching.

For more information on the subject of Toy Safety, check out:

"Top 5 Holiday Toy Safety Tips" on Parenthood.com: http://www.parenthoodweb.com/articles.html?article_id=5548

"Don't Toy With Safety" by Underwriter Laboratories, Inc. : http://www.ul.com/seasonal/opdec/toys.html

ToySafety.net - where you can download a PDF file titled, Trouble in Toyland: The 19th Annual Survey of Toy Safety  - by the PIRG - Public Interest Research Group, "This report provides safety guidelines for parents when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards. PIRG's research focused on four categories of toys: toys that pose choking hazards, toys that pose strangulation hazards, toys that are dangerously loud, and toys that contain toxic chemicals."