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Tis the Season for...Toy Safety: New Rules from CPSC

CPSC Chair Inez Tenebaum held a Town Hall meeting in New York recently to talk to parents and consumers about safe toys and new toy safety regulations. The CPSC has introduced new rules and guidelines for higher toy safety standards this year. In addition, there are steps parents and grandparents can take to ensure a happy and safe giving season.

Starting this year new federal rules state:

  • federal limits for lead in paint on children's toys dropped to 90 parts per million, which is among the lowest in the world;
  • toys for children 12 and younger must now be tested and certified that they meet the new lead in paint limits;
  • children's toys cannot be made or sold with more than 300 parts per million of total lead;
  • children’s toys cannot be made or sold with more than 0.1% of six prohibited phthalates
  • most children’s toys now fall under mandatory standards, instead of voluntary ones.

This year, toy recalls are significantly down. So far this calendar year there have been 38 toy recalls, down from 162 in 2008 and 148 in 2007. CPSC cites better enforcement for imports, cooperation with other nations, and more consumer awareness and education, among the factors giving consumers a bit safer year.

There are several safety tips the CPSC would like consumers to take when shopping this holiday season:

  • Scooters and other Riding Toys – Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn at all times and be sized to fit.
  • Small Balls and other Toys with Small Parts – For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
  • Balloons - Children can choke or suffocate on un-inflated or broken balloons. Keep un-inflated balloons away from children younger than eight years old. Discard broken balloons at once.
  • Magnets – For children under age six, avoid building or play sets with small magnets. If magnets or pieces with magnets are swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur.

Once the screaming is over and the gifts are open, the CPSC also recommends the following:

  • Immediately discard plastic wrappings or other packaging on toys before they become dangerous play things.
  • Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
  • Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any device to prevent overcharging.

The CPSC is committed to working with consumers on toy safety and education and with foreign and domestic toy manufacturers, importers and retailers to understand and comply with the new regulations.

To see the full text of the CPSC News Release go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10039.html.

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