Friday, November 9, 2007

Keeping the Baby Safe

If anyone is thinking of buying toys for the baby, we'd respectfully ask that you not buy anything made in China or out of plastic.

The more I read about toy recalls, the more I want to keep plastics away from our kid-to-be. Besides lead paint, at least two children have been injured after ingesting plastic toys. The toy, when ingested, produced a toxic chemical, causing seizures and coma. Besides, as a policy wonk, I can tell you that the Consumer Product Safety Commission - the agency charged with recalls - is not operating well either. They've been without a permanent commissioner for some time and are woefully underfunded.

If you're interested in toys, there are some wonderful and safe toys available from the U.S. and abroad. Cool Mom Picks has compiled a list of toys by category (teething, riding, building, etc.). Many of the manufacturers highlighted are offering discounts (scroll down for the coupon codes). Besides the toys highlighted on that website, Etsy, a website designed to let independent merchants sell their goods more easily, has an extensive list of toys by category.

If you're thinking of a toy, we'd love you to consider a book instead. Daniel and I saved some of our most well-loved children's books (I have a shelf of Roald Dahl).


Chris said...

Your caution is well understood. Knowing that I would some day be a Grammy-to-be, I saved all the wooden toys Peps made for Daniel - one car in particular has Dan's stamp of ownership - a wet drool! We have a photo of this and it's priceless!

Edward said...

Yes it is good to be cautious. I was thinking that if plastic is too large to swallow it would be one of the safest materials as there is no coating but we might have to reconsider that theory?

Edward said...

Good reference..we now have 1, as in 1 person in the federal system, checking the safety of toys in the USA...

For Immediate Release: Contact:
Tuesday, November 20, 2007 Tracy Shelton (212) 349-6460;


Hazardous toys are still sold in stores across the country, according
to the 22nd annual toy safety report, Trouble in Toyland, released
today by the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) at a
news conference held in Manhattan with Congresswoman Nita Lowey

"While we have seen progress after more than two decades of advocacy
on behalf of America's littlest consumers, researchers still found
trouble in toyland on store shelves throughout New York this month,"
said Tracy Shelton, Consumer Attorney with NYPIRG. "But recent high
profile product recalls have given us a chance to urge Congress to
pass strong product safety reforms, and give kids the best holiday
gift of all."

According to the most recent data from the Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC), toy-related injuries sent almost 73,000 children
under the age of five to emergency rooms in 2005. Twenty children died
from toy-related injuries that year. For 22 years, the NYPIRG Trouble
in Toyland report has offered safety guidelines for purchasing toys
for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store
shelves that pose potential safety hazards.

"As the holiday shopping season begins, it is critical that parents
have the resources they need to protect their children from dangerous
toys," said Lowey. "I commend NYPIRG for their 22nd annual report on
this important topic, and I will continue to work in Congress to
ensure that the federal government is doing its job to inform parents
of potential choking hazards and keeping unsafe products off the

The 2007 research focused on several categories of toy dangers: toys
that pose choking hazards, toys with powerful magnets, and toys that
contain lead.

Among the findings of the 2007 Trouble In Toyland report:

Lead in Toys and Children's Jewelry: Children exposed to lead can
suffer lowered IQ, delayed mental and physical development and even
death. In 2006, a four year old died of lead poisoning after he
swallowed a bracelet charm that contained 99% lead. NYPIRG researchers
went to just a few stores and easily found four children's toys or
jewelry containing high, actionable levels of lead. One piece of
jewelry we found was 65% lead by weight, or over one thousand times
current CPSC action levels.

Magnetic Toys: Toymakers have started using powerful magnets in
building toys, magnetic jewelry and children's playsets. If a child
swallows more than one magnet, they can attract each other in the body
and cause a bowel obstruction or life-threatening perforation. A
22-month old boy died in 2005 and many others have needed life-saving
surgery after swallowing magnets. This year, the CPSC has recalled
popular Mattel toys, including Barbie and Polly Pockets, for poorly
designed magnets that fall out. Listed in the report are several
examples of sloppily-designed or poorly-labeled magnetic toys found by
NYPIRG researchers this fall.

Choking Hazards: In 1979, the CPSC banned the sale of toys for
children younger than three if they contain small parts. The 1994
Child Safety Protection Act required an explicit choke hazard warning
on toys with small parts for children aged between three and six.

NYPIRG called on Congress to pass the strongest possible product
safety reforms under consideration:

* Congress should ban lead except at trace amounts. The SAFE
Consumer Product Act, HR 3691, introduced by Rep. DeLauro (Conn.) with
over 150 co-sponsors including Rep. Lowey, would reduce all lead
levels ã in paint or in the product ã to the level recommended by the
American Academy of Pediatrics: 40 parts per million (ppm) which is 15
times less than the current allowable level of 600 ppm.
* Congress should increase the budget and staffing of CPSC as much
as possible. CPSC has only one toy tester and a tiny force of 15
inspectors to check millions of toys at hundreds of ports of entry.
* Congress should require companies to guarantee that their
products have been subject to independent third party testing before
they put them on toy store shelves. Congress should also give CPSC
more tools to punish companies that break the law.

NYPIRG takes on powerful interests on behalf of its members, working
to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. More
information on toy safety is available at and