Consumer watchdog groups have issued new warnings for parents, according to a story on CNN. The groups, including the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, warn that toys that pose choking hazards and lead hazards are still making it to toy store shelves because of loopholes in the laws that regulate toy safety. The USPIRG cites weak laws that only clearly bans lead in paint as one example of the loopholes. The group did research which included purchasing 100 toys at various retailers. They found high levels of lead in 9 out of the 100 toys, and lead levels they considered dangerous in another 6 toys.
Consumer groups are working on Capital Hill to get Congress to pass legislation to strengthen the CPSC by giving it more authority to act, to raise civil penalties against companies violating the standards, and to allow the CPSC to send out notices quicker. Consumer groups also want tighter regulations on members of the CPSC taking trips sponsored by the industries they oversee.
The CPSC has issued an article titled the ABC’s of Toy Safety, that outlines key areas parents should be focused on in regard to toy safety. The following are tips included in the article:
- Ride-on Toys – Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be sized to fit.
- Small Parts – For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
- Magnets – For children under age six, avoid building sets with small magnets. If magnets or pieces with magnets are swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur.
- Projectile Toys – Projectile toys such as air rockets, darts and sling shots are for older children. Improper use of these toys can result in serious eye injuries.
- Chargers and Adapters – Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to children.
UPDATE: Another article on CNN about precautions parents should take in buying toys for their children.