The Checkout

Federal Safety Regulators Say Toys Safer than Ever

Annys Shin

On Wednesday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission held its annual toy safety press confab where it lists the top five toy-related safety hazards and generally comments on the state of toys today.

Instead of CPSC HQ in Bethesda, the event was held at the Shops at Georgetown Park off Wisconsin Ave. and M Street NW, much to the delight of some of the folks in the audience who I overheard rejoicing in the proximity of a coffee shop. (There is a Starbucks close to CPSC HQ but I guess it's hard to beat a Seattle's Best 50 paces away.)

Acting Chair Nancy Nord was joined by Dan Baldwin of Customs and Border Control and Mitch Stoller, the new chief executive of Safe Kids USA, a child safety advocacy group in DC. Stoler came from the Lance Armstrong Foundation and reportedly was the brain behind the Live Strong bracelets. (Marketing genius!)

The message this year was: toys are safer than ever, thanks to the work of the CPSC, Customs, manufacturers, and retailers. (Sorry, consumer groups. No shout out for you.)

Nord said "Toys now on sale...have gone throught he most intenstive safety process to date."

Fortunately, things are looking up this year. CPSC has XRF guns to catch lead and inspectors at ports. A new law is about to kick in. And toy recalls are down for the year--46 percent in fact, compared to 2007. CPSC has also been finding far fewer lead paint violations.

There are still hazards. This year's top five consisted mainly of perenials: scooters and other riding toys, small balls and other toys with small parts, balloons, magnets and chargers and adapters. The list is based on injury and death data. Toy related deaths were down, 18 in 2007 compared to 27 in 2006.

You can find CPSC's toy safety release here.

By Annys Shin |  November 13, 2008; 7:00 AM ET Annys Shin
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