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Toy Safety

Toy Safety – An Overview

Updated January 2011

Public anger, expressed in part by the widespread rebuke of elected officials, rising economic pressure on the middle and moderate income family, and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 have all  helped to bring about change… slow change…but change never the less in the toy industry, both in the United States and in other lands.  Since the screaming and scary headlines of 2007 and 2008, there have been regulatory and legislative steps taken to assure the safety of toys.

Legislation adopted by the US Congress -- while burdensome to some businesses -- set the tone for child toy safety in this country.   Also, actions by the government of China, along with those in other Asian nations (the region being the source of the majority of toys sold in America), cracked down on many of the abuses that have led to dangerous and toxic toys being shipped to the USA and other countries. The situation is not fully corrected, but certainly has improved.

According to a recent study (October, 2010), “Just over half of American adults are concerned about the safety of toys being sold this holiday season despite the fact that most have yet to buy a toy recalled for safety reasons.”  These results reflect consumer awareness and the concerns of the buying public. Perhaps, this is the best safeguard of all to ensuring safety in the market place.

The issues -- lead in toys, cadmium in child’s jewelry and renewed focus on the possible dangers of Bisphenol A plastics still show that more has to be done.  A University of Massachusetts study released in 2010 stated that in the past three years,   “…17 million toys have been recalled in the U.S. over high lead levels.”  The report highlighted the need to prevent these toxic toys from ever being manufactured.

For all of these reasons and to further protect our infants and children – Hot Topic Toy Safety will continue to focus attention on this continuing serious problem.  


Updated January 2008

Over the past five years the number of products manufactured in China and then recalled within the United States by the [federal] Consumer Product Safety Commission has doubled.  In 2006, there were 467 recalls of products imported to the US.  In 2000, Chinese manufactured products were responsible for 36 percent of all product recalls in the US – and this number has increased to 60 percent of all recalls.

This dramatic increase can be attributable mostly to an increase in toy recalls -- with China manufacturing 70-80 percent of all toys sold in the US, according to the Toy Industry Association.

According to the Toy Industry Association (TIA), the agency has provided toymakers with voluntary safety standard for all toys.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also regulates toys through its own force of inspectors to monitor the marketplace for both domestic- produced and foreign-made toys.

The toy industry -- along with other businesses -- has moved so much American manufacturing to China in order to cut costs, that the industry players are now exposed to growing problems despite regulations, laws and voluntary industry efforts to contain the issues. Public-health experts say Chinese manufacturers repeatedly revert to lead paint regardless of the rules or oversight because it is cheap and readily available, and cutting corners helps factories meet relentless customer (marketers) and retailer and consumer pressures to contain costs. Such violations easily slip through because of regulatory gaps in both nations.

The Chinese government has tried to reassure consumers about the safety of its products. Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai stated in summer 2007 – as the holiday buying season moved front-of-mind in the US -- that more than 99 percent of Chinese exports are safe and of good quality. But, it is that 1 percent that is drawing the attention of American parents.   They are seeking answers…they want someone to be accountable and tell them which toys are safe for their children and grandchildren.

U.S. law is pretty clear. The importer is responsible for quality and safety of goods imported into the country," said Erin Ennis, vice president with the U.S.-China Business Council. "But the Chinese can absolutely do more to prevent safety issues."  (One consequence of this issue: more Plaintiff Bar lawsuits against US companies.)

U.S. retailers and toy makers, including Mattel, have attempted to devise processes to prevent products with lead contamination and other problems from reaching shelves. But the company systems vary, and these efforts haven't kept problem toys from slipping through the process. Sometimes, toys that have passed inspection more than once are later found to contain excessive levels of lead paint.  This is a sign that Chinese companies may have been able to deceive the safety inspections.

Combined with the recent scares in the United States of Chinese-made pet food (2007) and globally of Chinese-made pharmaceuticals and toothpaste, the string of toy recalls is inspiring new demands for stepped-up enforcement of safety by United States regulators and importers, as well as by the government and industry forces in China.

Consumers, advocates, media, and the public sector -- all are seeking stepped-up enforcement of safety by United States regulators and importers, as well as by the government and industry in China.

As the 2007 Christmas season moved into high gear for consumers and retailers, toy safety became a very hot topic -- Accountability- Central Editors focus on news, commentary, reliable data and information, and research, to help all players better understand the issue; seek solutions; ascertain who is responsible; propose solutions; make intelligent buying decisions; and lobby for changes to protect the safety of our children.   


We’re interested in your news, views and commentary on these critical issues.

Section Created November 2007 by the Editors



Latest on Toy Safety Imports

October 23, 2012 Beware of contaminated or unsafe costumes and toys


A shipment of children's pirate costumes en-route from China to a distributor in Seattle will never make it to store shelves. Customs and Border Protection Officers and Consumer Product Safety investigators were waiting for the...

September 28, 2012 Captain Cutlass Pirate Toy Guns Recalled by Dillon Importing Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Source: Herald Online

WASHINGTON — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using...

September 27, 2012 CPSC Addresses Toy Safety Standards

Source: Gift and

WASHINGTON - The Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) held its first-ever "Safety Academy" on Thursday, Sept. 20 to help educate the consumer products industries on promoting safety, best practices and agency activities,...

September 26, 2012 Trampolines are no place for kids, docs warn

Source: NBC News

Trampolines are too dangerous for children to use, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday. Citing nearly 100,000 injuries in 2009, the academy issued the warning in a statement published in Pediatrics and noted that the...

September 25, 2012 Database reveals toxic chemicals used to make toys and other products

Source: KOMO News

Starting Monday, you can go online and find out about some of the toxic chemicals being used to make toys and products meant for children. You'll find chemicals you've never heard of, and some that you can't even pronounce.

September 21, 2012 Children’s water bottles recalled for choking hazard

Source: Examiner

Chicagoland parents, does your child have a water bottle from H&M stores? If so, this recent voluntary recall might apply to you. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with H&M, announced a voluntary...

September 19, 2012 RECALL: Toy Jeeps Can Become Fire Hazards

Source: KAKE

According to the U.S. Consumber Product Safety Commission, the Bluestem Ranger Rider Ride-On Toy Cars are being recalled. These toy jeeps have a battery that can overheat, smoke, melt and catch on fire - posing fire and burn...

September 14, 2012 Fire, burn risks lead to toy car recall

Source: MarketWatch

CHICAGO -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Wednesday recalled almost 5,000 "Range Rider Ride-On Toy Cars" due to the risk of fire and burns. The Chinese-made products were imported by Bluestem Brands, parent of...

September 12, 2012 Toxic chemicals found in toy samples in Divisoria

Source: GMA Network

With the Christmas shopping season drawing closer, an ecological group on Wednesday claimed to have found toxic chemicals in at least 74 toy samples being sold in Manila's busy Divisoria district. The EcoWaste Coalition said the...

September 5, 2012 Top Toys 2012: Dr. Toy Announces 100 Best Children’s Products of the Year

Source: Muncie Free Press

Dr. Toy has announced her yearly report that features information about l00 wonderful new toys and products from large and small companies. The toys and products selected meet my high standards for design, durability, price,...

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