ANNAPOLIS - In the midst of the holiday season, Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. is urging Marylanders, as they venture out to do their holiday shopping, to be vigilant when shopping for childrens toys. Parents need to know what toys are dangerous and how to choose toys that are safe and appropriate for their childs age, Curran said.
Recently, recalls have been issued on such things as toy mood necklaces containing high levels of lead and Polly Pocket toys that were choking hazards, for example.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that more than 210,000 children visited emergency rooms as a result of toy-related injuries in 2004. Today, toy manufacturers must comply with federal toy-making regulations on such things as: small parts that could lodge in the throat, sharp points and edges, paint and toxic materials.
Despite improved oversight, Curran wants consumers to know there are two things they need to do to help protect their children from harmful toys: learn the guidelines for buying toys that are safe and appropriate for a childs age, and stay informed of recalls.
Consumers can visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissions website, http://www.cpsc.gov, to see a list of toys recalled for being potentially dangerous, and they can sign up to receive the Commissions recall notices by e-mail.
Curran also recommended that parents check out Maryland Public Interest Groups report, Trouble in Toyland available at http://marylandpirg.org/reports/toyland2006.pdf or by visiting http://www.toysafety.net. The report lists potentially hazardous toys found in stores during a recent survey of stores in Maryland and Virginia.
Guidelines for Protecting Your Children from Unsafe Toys:
Read the label and follow the manufacturers age recommendations.
Avoid over-complicated toys. Be certain youand when necessary your childunderstand the directions or instructions on a toy.
Avoid toys with sharp edges, small parts or strings.
Check on what material is inside stuffed toys. Beans, chopped walnut shells or little plastic pellets can cause injuries if the toy is torn open or they fall out.
Inspect your older toys for wear and tear.
Every toy is not for every tot. Teach your older children to keep toys that could be harmful to smaller kids out of the reach of younger children.