Millions of Dangerous Toys Seized by U.S. Officials
What's on your holiday toy shopping list? How about toy cars, dolls, or action figures? These innocent-seeming gifts are just some of the millions of dangerous toys blocked from hitting store shelves by federal officials because they pose a risk to children's health.
More than 2 million toys have been intercepted by federal customs and consumer protection officials so far this year because of hazards like high levels of lead, sharp edges, and small parts that are choking hazards. According to U.S. Customs and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a record number of unsafe products have been seized so far this year. Two recent operations include:
- Jacksonville, Fla. – the seizure of nearly 24,000 toy cars. Testing discovered that all had lead levels high enough to do long-lasting harm to a child.
- Detroit, Mich. – the seizure of more than 3,000 toy guns from China. Testing found that all had excessive levels of lead.
Despite their best efforts, officials say that some unsafe products still end up on store shelves. They advise consumers to be vigilant and offer the following toy safety tips:
- Beware of a bargain – if a toy seems significantly underpriced, be careful.
- Small parts – avoid toys with small parts, which are choking hazards, for children under the age of three.
- Scooters and other riding toys – riding toys, skateboards, and inline skates can lead to deadly falls. Kids should wear helmets and safety gear at all times, and it should be sized to fit.
- Magnets – strong magnet sets are dangerous and should be kept away from children under the age of 14.
- Balloons – keep deflated balloons away from children under the age of eight as they pose a choking hazard. Throw away broken balloons right away.
The Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries Report released by the CPSC yesterday said that last year there were 193,200 toy-related, emergency room-treated injuries in children under the age of 15.