Selecting Safe Toys for Your Child

As families gather for the holidays, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers that dangerous children’s products may still be in their homes.

Grandparents dust off old playpens; older children often share their toys with younger relatives; and keepsakes are stored in old cedar chests. The CPSC (and wants to prevent these holiday traditions from becoming tragedies. Despite recall notices and public warnings, CPSC has found that many products with the potential to seriously injure or kill are still being used by consumers. Families should check whether old products have been recalled and place them out of the reach of children. Manufacturers will usually offer a free repair kit or replacement product.

What is the Toy Industry Doing?

Toy Companies Are Focused On Safety

The toy industry spends an estimated $300 million a year on safety testing and inspection of toys. Recently, toy companies have increased their efforts above and beyond that figure.

And while the toy industry already had a strong system for ensuring safety (one that is often modeled by other industries and countries), the industry is already working to strengthen the toy safety and inspection efforts – so that people can again feel confident in the safety of toys.

Companies are putting special focus on assuring the safety of painted toys for young children (who are more likely to mouth toys and other objects) by sending them back to laboratories for retesting. They are also purchasing sophisticated lead testing equipment for spot checks in warehouses and distribution centers in addition to sending samples to accredited laboratories for testing.

Toy Industry Safety Reassurance Initiatives

The toy industry in the U.S. and Canada are deeply committed to safety. This commitment is seen in the $300 million annually spent on testing – in the manufacturing plants, in warehouses’ and on retailers’ shelves and in the labs where all toys are tested to ensure that they’re safe for the children who play with them.

Safety Practices in Manufacturing Plants

Safety testing occurs throughout the manufacturing process. Toys are picked randomly off the production line and subjected to rigorous testing, both in the plant and off-site. To help ensure your child’s safety, companies are increasing the frequency of unannounced inspections in foreign/overseas manufacturing operations.

Companies are also demanding certified reassurances that the product coming from suppliers’ factories meets all U.S. standards, and that all materials and subcomponents (other components or related parts) obtained from other sources also meet the standards.

Safety Testing in Warehouses and on Retailers’ Shelves

Safety testing doesn’t stop when the toys leave the manufacturing plants. Toy companies conduct tests on random samples of toy products pulled from warehouses (where toys are stored before being shipped to stores). Testing takes place in both company labs and in independent laboratories. Manufacturers, retailers and importers are also spot-testing products already on retailers’ store shelves.

As an additional step, major retailers are also helping to ensure that toys are safe by retesting products before putting them on store shelves.

Paint Testing At Accredited Labs: Before and After It Is Used on Toys

Companies routinely send their products to accredited labs to test the safety of the paint. Companies are now reviewing and reinforcing the requirements for testing paint for lead content as it comes into the factory – both before it is applied and again after it is on the toys.

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