Recalls scare parents away from hot toys

  1. I know there are various threads on specific recalled toys, but I thought this would be helpful because it gives tips on how to shop for safe toys this year.

    Parents are trying to avoid trendy toys by considering alternatives like books and music.

    By Parija B. Kavilanz, senior writer
    November 9 2007: 2:47 PM EST

    NEW YORK ( -- Millions of parents are nervous about buying their kids toys for Christmas as recalls become more frequent and increasingly bizarre.
    "I don't trust that our government is doing enough to take care of our kids," said Tara Cummins, 38, of Wilton, Conn.
    Over the last 12 months, toy recalls have come fast and furious, from lead paint hazards to toys tainted with chemicals found in a date-rape drug.
    The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled more than 70 toy brands totaling more than 25 million products, including some popular toys like Thomas & Friends wooden toys, Elmo, Barbie and Dora the Explorer playsets.
    A mother of two, Cummins said her son played with the recalled Thomas & Friends toys.

    Just this week, the CPSC recalled more than four million China-made Aqua Dots toys after tests found they contained beads with a chemical that converts into a powerful date rape drug when ingested.

    Toy Wishes magazine and Wal-Mart had recently picked Aqua Dots as one of 2007's top 12 toys for the holidays.

    These lists are now meaningless to parents like Cummins. Although she hasn't yet started her holiday shopping, the recalls have convinced Cummins to shop differently for toys this year.

    "I used to shop on the Internet and by catalog. Now I'll go to local toy stores where I can ask plenty of questions about where the toy was manufactured and if the brand has had any other recalls," Cummins said.

    She's also taking a page from her own childhood to encourage her kids to play the way she did. "The toys I played with were more simple. Kids back then played dress up and had fun with books and other things," Cummins said.
    Many parents will likely follow Cummins example. However, toy safety advocates say parents shouldn't fear that all toys that are on store shelves could potentially be dangerous.

    "A majority of the toys in the market are safe," said Alison Rhodes, a child safety expert and founder of

    Still, she recognizes that parents will hesitate to buy toys in the weeks ahead.
    "When the toy recalls are because of lead paint, parents understand that problem and avoid buying those toys," Rhodes said. "With the Aqua Dots recalls, it's such an unexpected hazard for a toy. Parents are really at a loss for what to buy their kids."
    Rhodes said some simple tips can help inform parents how to buy safer toys.
    Do your own research. Rhodes suggests parents read independent publications such as Toy Tips and Parenting Hints that offer toy safety tips and rate toys according to quality and learning value.

    "Toy Tips offers great advice like make sure a toy doesn't have a chord or pull string that can wrap around a child's neck. It's useful information for parents," Rhodes said.

    Pragmatic parenting. "Don't buy the hot toys because they are on some list," Rhodes said. "Know your child's own vulnerability. If your child likes to put things in the mouth, don't buy toys with small parts or if it contains a lot of chemicals, such as a science kit."

    But dangerous toys also have shades of gray. "Throw out the toy if it is clearly recalled. But if the toy comes with a warning label, then use your judgment," she said.

    Back to basics. Considerother forms of entertainment like music, books, or computer games.

    Get smart about safety. Regularly check the Consumer Product Safety Commission's web site to stay on top of recalls, Rhodes said, adding that her Web site also features all the latest toy recalls.

    "Parents are overwhelmed with a lot of information already out there about toy safety. Pick one or two resources to keep yourself informed during the holidays," Rhodes said.
    Michele Bennett, a 37-year-old mom with two small children, said Rhodes advice made sense.

    Bennett actually bought the Aqua Dots toy for her 5 year old son a month ago. "I threw it out but it was scary. My son has a habit of absentmindedly putting pens in his mouth," Bennett said.

    "I'm not angry with toy companies but something has to be done to make safety a top priority," she said.

    After her Aqua Dots scare, Bennett said she's not getting her kids any trendy toys.
    "I'm so concerned that I'm only buying the kids clothes, books and basic toys like dolls," she said.

  2. The recall of toys made overseas grew dramatically during the summer of 2007. Toy-maker Fisher-Price is recalled 83 types of toys, including this Dora the Explorer playset, because their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.

    Mattel Inc. announced Sept. 5, 2007, it was recalling 800,000 toys, including 675,000 accessories for one of the company's biggest sellers, the Barbie doll. The lead-tainted toys were made in China.

    On Nov. 6, 2007, Mattel Inc. recalled more than 172,000 Fisher-Price kitchen toys in the United States and Europe because several children choked and gagged on small, detachable parts. The company received 48 reports of small parts separating from these toys.

    A worker checks a toy assembled at the production line of Dongguan Da Lang Wealthwise Plastic Factory on Sept. 4, 2007, in Dongguan of Guangdong Provinse, China. Two regulations have been introduced as part of efforts to improve safety standards, taking effect from Aug. 31, which require producers to take back unsafe food and toys.

    Millions of Chinese-made Aqua Dots toys by Spin Master have been pulled from shelves in North America and Australia after scientists found they contain a chemical that converts into a powerful "date rape" drug when ingested.

    images_sizedimage_213205828.jpg barbie.jpg images_sizedimage_310114116.jpg elmo_china_toy_76499492.jpg aquadots.jpg
  3. A recall of about 175,000 Curious George Plush Dolls manufactured by Marvel Toys was issued Nov. 9, 2007, due to excessive levels of lead paint.

    The Batman Magna Fight Wing Batman Figure was recalled by Mattel Inc. in August 2007 because the paint may have lead in it.

    Pixar Cars Sarge vehicle recalled by Mattel Inc. in August 2007 because the toy's paint may contain lead.

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of fake Halloween teeth sold by the tens of thousands on the morning of Oct. 31, 2007, too late for some parents who had already given the $2 "Ugly Teeth" to their children for Trick or Treating. The product was the latest in what had become a long line of Chinese-made toys and novelty items recalled because of lead content or tainted paint.

    The Go Diego Go Animal Rescue boat by Fisher Price made the 2007 "10 Worst Toys" by World Against Toys Causing Harm due to lead paint used on the toy.
    images_sizedimage_313003153.jpg images_sizedimage_226124042.jpg images_sizedimage_226125358.jpg images_sizedimage_302075040.jpg images_sizedimage_324143016.jpg
  4. B'Loonies Party Park, by Ja-Ru, Inc., made the 2007 "10 Worst Toys" by World Against Toys Causing Harm for its potential for chemical ingestion. Children blow a balloon-like toy out of chemical substance squeezed from a tube.

    The Rubber Band Shooter, by Simple Toys LLC, shoots rubber bands and presents eye hazard, according to the 2007 "10 Worst Toys" list by World Against Toys Causing Harm.

    Hip Hoppa, by Spin Master Ltd. and Vivid Imaginations, Ltd, uses a combination footboard and bouncing ball that children jump on. The toy made the 2007 "10 Worst Toys" by World Against Toys Causing Harm since it has the potential for head and other injuries.

    Jack Sparrow's Spinning Dagger, by Zizzle, is viewed as eye hazard on the 2007 "10 Worst Toys" list by World Against Toys Causing Harm.

    Sticky Stones, by GeoCentral, was voted among the 2007 "10 Worst Toys" by World Against Toys Causing Harm. The toy features magnetized stones that, if swallowed, could "stick together across the intestines, causing serious infections and death."
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  5. Spider Man 3 New Goblin Sword by Hasbro was voted among the 2007 "10 Worst Toys" by World Against Toys Causing Harm because the toy's rigid plastic could cause injuries.

    This Bob the Builder toy has a hammer top that easily breaks off, creating a potentially danger for youngsters. The toy was displayed during the Consumers Union, NYPIRG and other consumer organizations' "Twelve Days of Safe Shopping" campaign kick-off on Nov. 21, 2007, in New York.

    A sample of small, potentially dangerous toys are held up during a press conference Nov. 20, 2007, in New York City. The Consumers Union, NYPIRG and other consumer organizations kicked off a "Twelve Days of Safe Shopping" campaign calling on manufacturers, retailers and government agencies to develop effective measures to prevent unsafe products from reaching consumers.

    A total of 507,900 pieces of Chinese-made children's jewelry contaminated with lead were recalled Nov. 21, 2007, after the Consumer Product Safety Commission was tipped about the hazardous jewerly by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office. A previous round of jewelry, TOBY & ME Jewelry Sets shown above, were recalled by TOBY N.Y.C. in September 2007.
    images_sizedimage_324141403.jpg bob_builder_toy78013062.jpg small_toys_78012859.jpg images_sizedimage_325171633.jpg
  6. omg...thanks for posting this. i've just emailed all my friends the cnn link.