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155,000 Toys Recalled Due to Choking Hazards:
What Every Parent Needs to Know About Toys and Safety

As the holiday season draws nearer, toy recalls are the last thing that parents -- and toy makers -- want to see in the headlines. Yet, another massive toy recall has just occurred.

Nineteen of CPSC's toy recalls in 2007 were due to violations of the standard for lead paint.

This time, Mattel Inc. recalled 155,000 toys (under Fisher-Price's Laugh & Learn brand) amid concerns that the toy kitchen's faucet could be a choking hazard to children. Other toy recalls have been no less severe:

  • 4 million toy "Aqua Dots," made by Moose Enterprises, were recalled because they contain a chemical coating that, when ingested, turns into the date-rape drug gamma hydroxy butyrate. They can lead to unconsciousness, seizures, coma and death. Several children have already been hospitalized.

  • 175,000 Curious George dolls made by Marvel Toys were recalled because of lead on the dolls' faces.

In all, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) conducted 61 toy recalls so far in 2007 -- up from 40 in 2006.

How to Find Safe Toys

Understandably, many parents are looking at the toys they'll buy this holiday season with increased scrutiny.

The following tips will help you know what to look for to ensure toys are safe. Be sure to apply them not only to new toys you pick up, but also to those already in your home (and get rid of any toys that seem unsafe).

  1. Buy toys that are age-appropriate. This is especially important for kids aged 3 and under, as "big kid" toys can have parts that can be easily swallowed.

  2. Check for toy recalls before you shop (and when you're checking around your home). CPSC has a Web site that lets you search for product recalls.

  3. Avoid plastic toys -- particularly those made out of polycarbonate, lexan, and polysulfone -- for small children. They may contain bisphenol-A (BPA), which mimics the female hormone estrogen and may affect fertility and promote cancer.

  4. Ensure that any painted toys contain only lead-free paint.

  5. Don't give toddlers marbles, balls or games with balls that are smaller than 1.75 inches, as they're choking hazards.

Looking for a Fun, Educational -- and SAFE -- Toy?

Why not choose a gift that will both challenge and entertain? The Money Savvy Pig has been called the "Educational Toy of the Year" by the Parents' Choice Foundation. It will help children and babies to safely enrich their minds, and children love it.

Find Out More and Order the Money Savvy Pig Now!

  1. Buy a "choke tube." It's a tube that's similar in diameter to a young child's windpipe. If the toy can fit inside, it's too small for your child.

  2. Be careful with balloons. Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons.

  3. Avoid toys with long cords or strings, which could strangle young kids.

  4. Test toys for durability. If any pieces (eyes, buttons, etc.) come off easily, they're not safe for young kids.

  5. Only buy darts and arrows that have soft tips.

  6. Avoid projectile toys like slingshots and BB guns.

  7. Make sure that any electric toy you buy has been certified by Underwriters Laboratories (it will carry the UL seal).

  8. Be wary of wood toys that may have splinters.

  9. Only allow kids to use bikes, rollerblades and skateboards if they wear the appropriate safety gear (helmets, knee pads, wrist guards, shin guards, etc.).

  10. Make sure that art supplies and craft materials say they're non-toxic.

If you have kids of different ages, make sure you keep the "big kid" toys away from your toddlers.

  1. To prevent burns and electrical shocks, don't give children under age 10 a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.

  2. Choose only phthalate-free teethers, bottles and other plastic toys for babies.

  3. If you buy your child a toy gun, make sure it's brightly colored so it's not mistaken for a real gun.

  4. Don't buy toys with sharp edges or points for children under age 8.

  5. Remove all ribbons, tags, plastic wrappings and other packing materials from toys before giving them to your child.

Recommended Reading

How to Choose the Right Gifts for Other People's Babies and Kids

Bisphenol-A: Why Makers of Toys, Medical Equipment & More Don't Want You to Worry About Bisphenol-A -- and Why You Should


U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

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