Health and Family Services Cabinet
Remember to look for dangerous, damaged toys
After the 2005 toy shopping season has come to a close and the last Christmas present has been unwrapped, consumers can shift their focus to what’s going on inside their homes.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) wants to remind parents and caregivers to take this time to survey toys purchased for holidays and birthdays that may have become subject to a safety-related recall.
“Now is a great time to go through the toy box to check for unsafe toys,” said Mike Cavanah, of DPH’s environmental management branch. “We often forget that some toys can be dangerous and could contain harmful elements, like lead. Parents need to be aware of the dangers that are out there and take proper safety measures.”
Before you begin, you may wish to consult the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site at www.cpsc.gov, which provides information about recalls of toys and a wide variety of other consumer products.
Also remember to look for toys that are broken or in poor condition, in addition to recalled toys. Broken toys can have small parts that may be a choking hazard or sharp edges and points that can cut or puncture.
According to DPH, the hazard category that accounted for the greatest number of recalled items in the past year is excessive lead content. Children can be exposed to lead when they either put one of the toys in their mouths or merely touch the toy and then place their hands in their mouths.
More than 150 million items of metallic costume jewelry have been recalled because they contain lead. The recalled jewelry includes necklaces, bracelets, earrings, charms, pendants, rings and zipper pulls. Much of this jewelry was sold in vending machines, but other items may have been purchased in stores or through catalog or Internet sales.
Jewelry sold in stores qualifies for a refund or replacement. Jewelry purchased through vending machines should be thrown away.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine the lead content of metallic jewelry by looking. If your child’s toy collection contains costume jewelry and you cannot positively determine whether it has been recalled, the safest course may be to dispose of it.
Other toys recalled for lead content include Shakespeare and Zebco fishing rods with cartoon themes and Nu-Tronix karaoke cassette player/recorders.
Recalled toys should be taken away from children immediately. It’s a good idea to return warranty or product registration cards received with new purchases, because they can provide an address or phone number if the manufacturer needs to contact you.
For additional information concerning these and other product recalls, or to report an unsafe product, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site at www.cpsc.gov or call their hotline at (800) 638-2772.
DPH’s environmental management branch can also provide information about toy safety. They can be reached at (502) 564-4856.