Some of the biggest manufacturers of children’s toys have recalled millions of toys in the past two months. Most of the toys recalled were manufactured in China and have problems with lead paint, which can be toxic. How can you keep your child safe?
Most of the recalled toys are manufactured by long-time toymaker Mattel. Children’s favorites such as Thomas and Friends, Dora the Explorer, Elmo, and Barbie are among the list of toys parents are urged to throw away. An updated an complete list of toy recalls from Mattel can be found at http://service.mattel.com/us/recall.asp.
Additionally, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission is a clearinghouse for all recalled products including toys. Parents should check this website to see whether their children’s toys are included on a recall list. Incidentally, if a parent experiences a problem with a toy, this CPSC should be contacted so that other parents can be warned. If your child owns a toy on a recalled list, throw it away immediately and wipe off all surfaces with which the toy has come in contact.
Approximately 80% of the children’s toys in the United States are produced in China and the remaining 20% is divvied up between the United States and Europe. Thus, it would seem next to impossible to rid your home completely of Chinese-made toys.
There are a few steps you can take to keep your family safe from tainted products. Most hardware stores sell kits that detect the presence of lead. Simply wipe an indicator patch on a surface and it will change colors if lead is present. This might be an important step for parents of very young children who are still frequently mouthing toys.
Another alternative is to clear your house of toys with labels that read “made in China” and shop for replacements that are American, Australian, or European-made.
The following are links to toys made in in the United States, Australia, or Europe:
Organic toys are another option. The following websites offer products, or links to websites offering safe, organic options for children’s toys:
Avoiding products made in China altogether may be a safe bet. The website http://www.unionlabel.org/index.cfm?zone=search.cfm gives information for union-made American products. A list of products made in the United States can be found at http://www.madeinusa.com/directory.shtml. Bear in mind that a product can still be “made in the United States” from pieces that were manufactured in China. So, if ridding your household of Chinese products is important to you, you will need to do research.
These links will help you find safe alternatives to the flood of potentially dangerous toys that are on the shelves of American toy stores. As an added bonus, you will be supporting American workers and businesses.
(NOTE: All links were last accessed 5 September 07)