While toy manufacturers have increased product testing in order to reduce the number of unsafe toys on the market, unfortunately, dangerous toys continue to be sold in the United States. The Better Business Bureau is offering advice to holiday shoppers to help them avoid purchasing unsafe toys, as well as guidance for parents if they find a recalled toy in their child’s toy box.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps a list of recalled toys on its Web site at www.cpsc.gov. Consumers can also subscribe to their e-mail list 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 iwww.toyinfo.org.
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.
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.
Toy safety isn’t only about avoiding recalled products; gift-givers also need to make sure they are buying appropriate toys. Consumers should follow the age recommendation listed on the package or toy.
Toy Recall Hotlines
Consumer Products Safety Commission: (800) 638-2772
Toy Industry Association: (888) 888-4TOYS
Mattel: (800) 916-4498
Fisher-Price: (800) 991-2444
Toys R Us: (800) 869-7787
Reanna Smith-Hamblin is the communications director for the Better Business Bureau. Cathy Williamson is branch manager of the Lincoln Trail Area BBB. She can be reached at (270) 982-1289.