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It’s Christmas: Is That Toy Safe?

Our children’s safety is important to us anytime of the year.  But especially during the holidays, we all need to be aware of the toys we buy and making sure they are safe for children.

BBB offers the following advice on toy safety this holiday season:

How to Find Out Which Toys Have Been Recalled:

The CPSC keeps a list of recalled toys on their Web site at www.cpsc.gov.
Consumers can also subscribe to their e-mail list (www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx) or RSS feed to receive updates on recalls as they occur. The Toy Industry Association also provides extensive information on toy safety and people can scroll through photos of recalled toys in an easy-to-use index on their Web site (www.toyinfo.org).

Most manufacturers will have toy recall information on their websites.  Here are just a few:

http://service.mattel.com/us/ContactUs.aspx - Mattel and Fisher-Price
http://www.toysrusinc.com/safety/recalls/ - Toys R Us
http://www.hasbro.com/customer-service/recall/ - Hasbro
http://www.toyinfo.org/ToyInfo/RECALLS/2013_RECALLS/ToyInfo/Recalls/2013_Recalls.aspx?hkey=5cb11b32-5276-43af-9d1f-f7d394e95960 – The Toy Association

What To Do If You Have Purchased a Recalled Toy:

The CPSC negotiates the specific resolution over a recalled toy with the toy manufacturer – usually resulting in a refund or an exchange for a different toy. Parents can consult the CPSC Web site for specific resolutions and instructions.

Shoppers can also try returning a recalled toy directly to the retailer – rather than dealing directly with the manufacturer. Shoppers should understand though, that many major toy outlets have their own return policy for recalled toys, and policies may differ significantly.

While some recalled toys can cause noticeable injury to a child, toys that contain too much lead can have a less obvious, although still dangerous, affect. The CPSC warns that at-home lead-level testing kits are inaccurate, so parents worried about lead poisoning should first talk to their pediatrician about conducting a blood test.

If a child becomes injured by a potentially faulty or toxic toy, in addition to contacting medical personnel, parents can also call the CPSC hotline at (800) 638-2772.

More Safe Toy-Buying Advice from BBB

Be Careful When Shopping Online:

Most large retailers are quick to pull products off the shelf, and, as a secondary precaution, flag the bar codes, so if the item is scanned at checkout, the cashier knows to not let consumers purchase the item. While online auction sites or bulletin boards may have policies against selling recalled toys, according to researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children’s Hospital, recalled toys and other unsafe products are often sold to unknowing parents. It’s very important to check with the CPSC and the Toy Industry Association before buying a new or used toy or product for children online.

Make Sure the Toy is Age-appropriate

Toy safety isn’t only about avoiding recalled products; gift-givers also need to make sure they are buying appropriate toys based on the age of the child. Consumers should follow the age recommendation listed on the package or toy. BBB reminds shoppers that siblings share toys, and a gift intended for an older child with small parts will likely fall into the hands of younger siblings and could pose a safety hazard.

For more trustworthy advice to keep children safe and secure this holiday season, go to www.bbb.org.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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