Consumer Reports: How to Buy Safe Toys

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The most important thing you can do to make sure the toys you bring home are safe for your child is to buy age-appropriate ones. Young children can choke on small parts, so take those age guidelines seriously.

More tips for buying safe toys:

  • Look for “no phthalates” on labels. Phthalates are chemicals that are found in some plastics (they smell like a plastic shower curtain). They can be toxic if a child ingests them.
  • Buy American products. Toys that are made in the U.S. have a better safety record than many imports.
  • Watch for recalls. As we saw with the recent Fisher-Price toys recalls (more on page 83), any recalled toys should be removed from store shelves. But some may fall through the cracks, so check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s ongoing list of recalls, at www.cpsc.gov. It’s especially important to check if you buy used toys on eBay or at a yard sale or consignment shop.
  • Don’t buy toys at the dollar store. When we went shopping with our safety expert, Donald Mays, he found a number of cheaply made toys that could be dangerous to kids.

—Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org or check out Consumer Reports’ Home & Garden advice.

Note: Consumer Reports has no relationship with the advertisers on this site.

Copyright 2010, Consumers Union of United States, Inc. All rights reserved. No redistribution allowed.


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