Each year, billions of toys are purchased by consumers and end up in the hands of children. Unfortunately, not all these toys are safe. Last year, 12 children died as a result of injuries related to toys, and thousands ended up in emergency rooms. While it's difficult to prevent all such injuries, Attorney General Dana Nessel encourages Michigan consumers to be aware of toy safety protocols.
Consumers across the country can usually rely on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to protect the general public against unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with toys and other consumer products, and to assist consumers in evaluating the comparative safety of those products. However, it has been reported that CPSC inspectors, who protect kids from dangerous and deadly toys, did not inspect international shipments from April until September – a critical time, as that is when this year’s holiday gifts were entering the United States by the shipload.
CPSC pulled inspectors from ports around the country earlier this year because of COVID-19, causing a major drop in safety inspections. The decision came without warning to consumers and continued during spring and summer months that are typically the busiest time of the year. CPSC inspectors are supposed to intercept dangerous toys and other household products before they reach the market.
Target, Dollar Tree, Walgreens, Amazon and UPS were among the large name-brand wholesalers and retailers that brought in products from overseas while CPSC investigators were away from their posts – not screening for hazards that wholesalers and retailers are supposed to test for themselves. Products including trucks, dolls, stuffed animals, picture books, markers, puzzles, building blocks, bikes and wagons have landed on shelves without the usual security checks for lead, chemicals or choking hazards – and those uninspected products have been purchased for children.
Shoppers of these stores and others that import products will have no way to differentiate good products from unsafe products that have slipped onto the shelves without inspection. It could take years to discover the dangerous items that have been allowed into our homes. Many children’s products may not appear dangerous, but if the products are swallowed or ingested, the child may suffer serious injury or even death. Issues of child safety are a major concern of regulatory agencies and manufacturers.
If you notice any problems with a product you have purchased, you should immediately report it to the CPSC online or by calling the CPSC Consumer Hotline at 800-638-2772. For more information on toy safety and product recalls see Attorney General Dana Nessel’s 2020 Dangerous Toys Guide.
For a comprehensive list of toy recalls, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website. You can also sign up for CPSC alerts about recalls of infant/child products.
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