More Trouble in Toyland

By Daniel Nardini

In a report put out by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, an independent consumer group, the number of recalls for toys is down compared to 2012. The report, Trouble in Toyland 2013, states that the number of toys that have been recalled for 2013 is definitely better than the previous year, and certainly better than 2008, which was the largest toy recall in U.S. history. Yet the number of toys being recalled this year is still a fundamental problem, and that the report found too many toys with either high levels of lead paint, dangerous sharp edges, or that broke apart too easily or in some other way defective were still on store shelves.

Since the U.S. Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in 2008, the number of safety violations has gone down. The trouble is that it is still too high, and for tens of thousands of children, the risk is still too great. Why is this so? Even though the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been given more authority and more funding to test toys and to have toys found dangerous taken off the market, the sheer size of the toy market is still too great for this Commission. The other problem is the fact that it seems safety is not taken seriously by too many companies. It seems that too many companies do not have their toys tested for full compliance (or compliance at all) from when they leave the factory to when they hit the store shelves.

I personally find it very sad that there are still too many in corporate business who do not take toy safety seriously. If they did take safety seriously, then the work of the Consumer Product Safety Commission would be a whole lot less of a burden. It seems sometimes that profit and greed trumps the concerns for our children. And most of the dangerous toys are again made in China—which has to make me warn to all parents to be wary of toys made in that country. The report does not say where most of the toys brought into this country are made, but 80 percent of all toys are made in China, an unfortunate fact. The only thing I can say to parents is that if they are truly concerned about toy safety (and they should be), I would recommend buying toys made in U.S.A. or in countries with high toy safety concerns such as France or Germany. Above all else, I want to wish all families a safe as well as safe holiday season!

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