The Toy Industry Association recently announced a new “testing and safety verification system” intended to restore the confidence of U.S. consumers in the safety of the toys that they buy. The new system follows in the wake of last year’s mass recalls of some 25 million toys due to hazard and health concerns.
The three key features of this “testing and safety verification system” asks that toy manufacturers:
- Pay more attention to safety when designing toys.
- Make sure that safety concerns are addressed when manufacturing toys.
- Conduct more tests before and after a toy enters the marketplace.
It is important to note, however, that these standards are voluntary, not mandatory. And even new legislation being considered by U.S. lawmakers have their limits.
A bill passed in the House of Representatives last December still fails to make certain tests mandatory, including tests to check for lead content, magnet pieces, or small choking hazard pieces in toys.
The two largest recalls last year involved 4.2 million Aqua Dots beading sets with a coma-inducing chemical that can be swallowed and 7.3 million Polly Pocket dolls with small magnet parts.
It is important to note that the U.S. government and the Consumer Product Safety Commission cannot regulate manufacturers outside the U.S.—over 80% of toys purchased here are made in China. Most of the 25 million toys recalled last year were made in China.
And the recalls keep coming. On Friday, Family Dollar recalled 250,000 Magnetic Dart Boards, because the small magnets at the ends of the darts can come off and are easily swallowed by children.
On February 19, Dumar International USA recalled 64,000 Cinderella 12-Volt Electric Ride-On Vehicles because a short circuit in the battery compartment proved to be a possible fire hazard. Both toys were made in China.
Our consumer product safety law firm would like to talk to you if your child was injured or killed because of a dangerous or hazardous toy. Our products liability attorneys have helped many injured parties and their families recover compensation from liable manufacturers.
Toy safety regulations need steep penalties, Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2008
Related Web Resources:
Toy Industry Association
Toy Safety, U.S.PIRG