CPSC Chairperson Inez Tenenbaum outlined recent advances in toy safety standards over the past two years, including the following CPSC achievements:
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; and
most children’s toys now fall under mandatory standards, instead of voluntary ones.
According to Tenebaum, the CPSC has handled 38 toy recalls in 2009, which is down from 162 in 2008 and 148 in 2007. There has been 14 recalls involving lead this year, down from 63 in 2007 and 85 in 2008. CPSC attributes this decline to increased enforcement at the ports, cooperation with other nations, consumer awareness and education and compliance by the industry with new federal safety rules.
For 2008, the Commission reported 19 toy-related deaths and about 172,700 hospital emergency room treated toy-related injuries for children under 15. Almost half of these injuries, approximately 82,300 were to children younger than 5 years of age. Most of the deaths were associated with drowning, motor vehicle involvement, or airway obstruction from a small toy or small part of a toy.
The CPSC recommends that following safety steps consumers can take while 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;
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; and
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.
You can read Tenebaum’s full comments by clicking here