BWG Consumer Alert: December 2011

Buying Safe Toys This Holiday Season

Child Cube

If you are buying for young children this year, we urge you to shop carefully to avoid dangerous toys.

Last year, nearly 182,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for toy-related injuries, such as falls, strangulation, lacerations and deaths. Many toys causing injuries are recalled, but there are many others that remain on store shelves. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) establishes standards for different types of toys, but the CPSC does not test toys before they are put on shelves. Many consumers do not realize this. It is up to manufacturers and retailers to put safe products on the shelves for consumers. And consumers must also pay attention.

Be an informed shopper:

  • Age-appropriate. Buy age-appropriate toys. Most toys are required to have a label with age instructions.
  • Read Labels. Always read the label before purchase.
  • Small Parts. Never buy toys with small parts that pose a choking hazard, such as marbles and balls with a diameter of 1.75 inches or less.
  • Magnets. Do not buy toys with magnets or adult gifts with magnets in which children may have access.
Warning About Lead, Phthalates and Cadmium. The U.S. PIRG recently released its annual "Trouble in Toyland" report, with another warning to consumers to avoid toys with dangerous lead limits. U.S. PIRG found two toys with lead limits exceeding 300 ppm, the current standard. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a 40 ppm limit. Four toys were found to exceed this amount.

Two toys were found to exceed the recommendation for phthlates. Cadmium, which is often found in children's jewelry, has not set a limit on cadmium yet. However, retailers have agreed to only sell products with less than 300 ppm of cadmium.

Click here for our full list of toy buying tips and to learn more about dangerous toys on the market this holiday shopping season. 


Holiday Decorations

Setting up holiday decorations is one of the season's joys. But it is important to slow down, plan and make sure you are buying materials from reputable stores and merchants. Also before buying, make sure you are able to care for large decorations such as Christmas trees, which require daily care. Our tips for keeping your family safe:


Christmas Tree Watering

  • Make sure you have an adequate size tree water stand.
  • Learn how much watering your tree needs. In general, you should use one quart of water per day for each stem diameter. If you need help, ask your local fire department for more instructions. 
  • Remove your tree in a timely manner to avoid letting it dry out. Many communities offer special Christmas tree pickups after the holiday. Call your town or city hall, look on your local newspaper or news website or check social media.
  • Another option is to cut up your tree branches and place them over a garden.
  • Do not leave your tree outside unattended overnight for teenagers and vandals to find. Discourage anyone from coming onto your property by getting rid of your tree.

Click here for more tips on Christmas tree holiday lights and holiday candles.

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