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==== ==== The information you need to make safe toy choices and valuable tips on what you as parents or caregivers can do to protect your children from unsafe toys ==== ==== Safe Toys: Where Are They? I was shaken up by a news alert in my morning email: Mattel facing major recall of toys containing lead paintpaint was delivered to their factory by a trusted supplierfinal production lot was shipped without testing. How could this happen to the largest, best organized toy company? As Sr. VP of Goldberger Doll Co., I ordered the immediate and ongoing testing of all paints in use at our China factories. Dont Trust - Check The point that every manufacturer knows is that things happen in production which cause variations from product to product. The more labor intensive a product, the more potential there is for variation. To stem the flow of poor quality arms and materials reaching our soldiers in World War II, Inspection Sampling was created and is still in use today. By checking a small number of pieces from a large production run, you can determine if it meets your desired quality. The same applies to Toy Safety, but the cost and time to check every run would make toys incredibly expensive and cause extensive delays in shipments. Many factories that faced new demands from customers took matters in house and started testing for heavy metals (like lead) every day. It was obvious that now the raw material supply (paints, plastics, metals etc.) could be tainted and ruin large manufacturing runs. Watch For Unsafe Toys I would advise that you avoid buying cheap toys at independent dollar or thrift stores, for ages UNDER 3. It still amazes me how these toys get through our safety net. Small factories and especially factories that sell low cost toys, usually have poor quality control. These low-priced suppliers also are prone to shoddy workmanship and/or material substitutions. Either could easily cause an unsafe toy for children under 3, primarily from small parts. As an example, leaving a small opening in a sewn seam, could allow polyester to come out. Polyester is considered a small part choking hazard. Using a lower grade plastic for an injection molded toy can save a lot, but also be vulnerable to breakage. Even an inspector could not tell that the factory changed plastics. The Safest Toy Retailers Major retailers, whose livelihood depends on toy sales, did not wait for Government to revise and re-regulate the system. They took action and as a result have the safest supply of toys you can find. Both Wal-Mart and Toys R Us have programs in place which call for more continuous testing of manufactured toys. This replaced a system in which suppliers would select and send samples to a test lab once or twice a year.

These measures dramatically increase the chances of finding unsafe toys, before they ever leave the factory. So if you are looking for the potentially safest toys, made by any company, shop WalMart or Toys R Us. Other retailers have polished their toy safety control systems, and now make sure that they have current safety test reports for all items they buy. Some have tightened up the expiration of valid reports to less than one per year. In general, buying major brands is better than off-brands especially if you are shopping in a small, independently owned, store.

Michael Pietrafesa is an expert in toy manufacturing, product development and safety. Please visit Made Safe Toys, the Ultimate Parent Help Center at for tons of information on keeping your child safe from toys. The latest Consumer Information on Baby and Toddler products is available at to help parents decide what to buy.

==== ==== The information you need to make safe toy choices and valuable tips on what you as parents or caregivers can do to protect your children from unsafe toys ==== ====

Safe Toys- Where Are They?  

Where to but the safest toys for your children. Find out the best and safest things you can do-