Safety has always been important when considering what toy is appropriate for a child, but events in recent years have made toy recalls and toy safety an even greater concern.
The toy safety regulations have become much more strict and Internet access has made it possible for caregivers to find toy safety checklists and access lists of the most recently recalled toys.
When considering a child’s safety it’s important to remember older toys as well as newly released ones. Antique and vintage toys may have been great back in the day and might be collector items now, but by today’s safety standards they are considered unsafe for children under ages 8 to 12.
Keep those older toys shelved until the right age since the sharp metal parts and small detachable pieces are safety hazards.
Be sure to read and follow the age recommendations and warnings listed. These are based on both age appropriate skill level, and national safety standards. Since 1994 the US Child Safety Protection Act has required that warning labels be posted on toys that present a choking hazard for children under three.
It is true that some toys have passed the safety tests until chance occurrences in the public sector rendered the toy unsafe. Tiny magnetic parts that can come off and become ingested are an example of an item that was tested and passed the safety standards only to end up as one of the largest recalls ever recorded.
Toys with Lead Paint
The lead toy recalls of 2007, including the 1.5 million Thomas train toys recalled by RC2, created a desire for international standards in production codes. The toy safety regulations for third party production came under close scrutiny when the recalls kept being reported.
In August 2008, the United States passed legislation banning lead (except in minute levels) and phthalates from children’s toys for ages 12 and under. These are considered perhaps the toughest safety standards in the world. Currently, the country with the most lead paint violations for toys is China.
Toys with Choking Hazards
The Fisher Price toy recalls of close to a million toys in 2007 due to lead paint have increased diligence at the company. When a few cases were reported regarding Learning Pots and Pans and choking hazards due to missing screws in the bottom of the pan, the products were recalled voluntarily. If any of the six screws on the bottom of the pan are missing call 888-521-0820.
In August 2008, Haba toys voluntarily recalled wooden puzzles, infant rattles, pacifier holders, and stroller toys after discovering the small pieces were choking hazards. No injuries have occurred with regard to these items. Contact Haba and the Habermaass Corporation at 800-468-6873 ext 107 to receive a free replacement or refund.
How to Research Toy Recalls
When concerned about a recall, check with the store where the item was purchased. If unsure where the item was purchased check the item for a manufacturer name and either call the company or search online for the recall.
Unbelievably, in September and October 2008 over one million cribs were recalled due to faulty equipment that have resulted in infant deaths. Ongoing recalls related to children’s products can be found on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
Also, most companies will prominently display any recent recalls on their websites and in stores where the items are sold.