Toy Recalls: 7 things you can do to keep your child safe

Toy Recalls: 7 things you can do to keep your child safe

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Recalls of toys and other children's products are enough to make anyone nervous. Are you wondering what, if anything, you can do to keep your child safe?

Though you can't protect him from every danger, there are many ways to protect your child from harm. Here are some helpful suggestions:

1. Check the product number

Many recalls involve toys manufactured only within a certain time frame or produced at a particular factory. Manufacturers use product numbers to identify when and where a toy was manufactured.

If you think one of your child's toys has been recalled, find the product number on your child's toy and check it against the recall notice published on the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) website or on the manufacturer's website.

Usually the product number is stamped in an inconspicuous place, like the underside of a toy. If you have trouble finding the product number, contact the manufacturer or check the CPSC's website for more information.

2. Take away recalled toys immediately

If one of your child's toys is on a recall list, immediately take it away and follow the recall instructions. In many cases, you can send the toy back to the manufacturer for a safer replacement or be compensated for it.

If your child is a baby, it's easy enough to distract her and take away the toy without her even noticing. And the promise of getting something new may be enough to soften the blow for toddlers and preschoolers who don't want to give up a favorite toy.

3. Throw away broken or worn-out magnetic toys

Magnetic toys are often recalled because the small, powerful magnets inside them can loosen and fall out. Children who swallow the magnets can suffer life-threatening conditions like a bowel obstruction or perforated intestine.

If your child has any magnetic toys, check them often for signs of wear and tear, discard the ones that are in poor condition, and supervise your child when he plays with them.

4. Watch out for lead

Some parents do their best to buy local when it comes to children's toys with good reason: Lead paint has been banned in the United States since 1978.

So if you're buying handmade toys from craftspeople who use materials purchased in the United States (or from toy companies that produce everything in the United States), you can be very sure their products are lead-free. And craftspeople must meet the same safety standards that large manufacturers do.

The CPSC is working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to make sure imported toys are safer too. The United States has set standards for the lowest lead content and lead paint limits in the world and has increased seizures of unsafe imported toys.

Lead can be found in more than just toys, however. The CPSC has previously recalled toddler sunglasses, children's overalls, and even baby bibs because of lead content. Lead is sometimes used as a stabilizer or coloring agent, so throw out bibs that are cracked or flaked to make sure your baby doesn't accidentally swallow a piece.

5. Get your child tested for lead exposure

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that a child may not show any obvious physical symptoms of lead exposure, even at levels high enough to later cause learning and behavior problems.

If you're concerned that your child may have been exposed to lead, ask her doctor for a blood test. (Federal law requires the test if your child is eligible for Medicaid.) In some areas, you may be able to get a free lead test from your local health department. It's a quick and easy procedure that can be done in a lab or doctor's office, and you'll get the results in a few days.

6. Store toys safely

It's not enough just to buy safe toys. It's also important to store your child's toys in a safe place. The CPSC has received reports of death and brain damage as a result of toy chest lids falling on children's heads or necks. Kids have also suffocated after climbing into a toy chest to hide.

According to the CPSC, the best way to keep your child safe is to remove the lids from toy chests. If you don't want to remove the lid, you can install a spring-loaded support that will hold the lid open in any position.

7. Stay up to date on recalls

You can read about product recalls at the CPSC website.

Watch the video: On Call for All Kids - Choosing Safe Toys for Kids and Toddlers (June 2022).