NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Gift-givers have a little bit less to worry about this holiday season. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, holiday toys are much safer this year thanks to heightened safety requirements.
The CPSC says toys recalls have declined since 2008, with just 34 toy recalls taking place thus far in 2011. Comparatively, there were 46 toy recalls in 2010, 50 recalls in 2009 and 172 recalls in 2008.
Only four of the 2011 toy recalls were related to lead, down from 19 in 2008.
The CPSC says the decrease is a result of the more stringent standards introduced during the past year.
In October, the CPSC approved rules requiring third-party testing and certification of toys designed or intended primarily for children 12 and younger, and back in July it lowered the amount of lead content allowed in children’s products.
Similar limits for cadmium in toys are forthcoming, the CPSC says.
The CPSC also reported that toy-related deaths of children younger than 15 increased to 17 fatalities reported in 2010, up from 15 reported in 2009. Injuries remained level with about 181,500 children getting treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments due to toy-related injuries last year.
The CPSC says nearly half of these toy-related fatalities were attributed to choking on balloons, small balls and rubber balls. Injuries commonly involved lacerations, contusions and abrasions to the child’s face and head.
To remain safe this holiday season, the CPSC advises parents to keep deflated balloons away from children under 8. Small balls and toys with small parts should also be kept away from children under 3, and plastic wrappings or other packaging on toys should be discarded because they can also pose a choking hazard.
Parents and other gift-givers can find additional safety tips on the commission’s website.
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