Shoppers Urged to be Vigilant When Purchasing Toys


The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is advising shoppers to be vigilant when purchasing toys, especially with recent recalls of several Chinese-made products. Speaking with JIS News, Communication Specialist at the CAC, Dorothy Campbell, informed that more than 20 million toys have been recalled by Fisher-Price, Mattel, and Marvel, because of high lead content in paint used in the manufacturing process. Toys included on the 20-million recall list are popular cartoon characters like Elmo, Ernie, Big Bird and all the other Sesame Street characters; Dora the Explorer; musical toys; keys boards and shakers. Miss Campbell noted that “even though the Bureau of Standards has not reported any of these toys being in the island, we know that informally, these toys can get here.” “We are very nomadic and when we travel, we tend to pick up the latest items .so although the Bureau of Standards does its formal checks at the ports, the CAC is also aware that a parent, aunt, godmother or whomever, might be carrying one of these items in their suitcases and unwittingly offers it to a child,” the Communication Specialist pointed out.
In highlighting the harmful effects of lead, she pointed out that “the danger to the child is not just simply that he’s going to have a little episode of lead poisoning and you take him to the doctor and he gets a bottle of medicine and he is fine, but it can cause developmental problems in your child.”
She informed that learning disabilities, signs of aggression, intolerance to food and weight loss, are all associated with lead poisoning.
In light of these harmful health effects, Miss Campbell advised that: “When you pick up an item and you are unsure, call the CAC and we will check to find out if these items have been recalled.”
“We would rather you call us to say I am about to buy this toy and I want to know if it has been recalled rather than you call us to say ‘my child is ill and in the hospital, how do I get redress from the person I bought this toy’. We would want you to call us from the point of purchase rather than from the point of tragedy,” she stated.
In addition to the risk of lead poisoning, Miss Campbell informed that some toys have been recalled because they are unsafe, in that “they are too loud, have small parts or sharp edges or those that do not allow the child to manipulate at the appropriate age.” She advised parents to “purchase toys that are educational. Look for toys with less ‘bling’.the more a toy is painted with multi-colours and has little magnet studs, the more danger.” Continuing on the matter of safety, the Communication Specialist also advised parents to take extreme caution when purchasing bicycles. “We want to ensure that you choose one that is safe, so it is advisable to take the child to the store, make sure they feel comfortable sitting on it and they can reach the bars comfortably without stretching,” she advised.
She also emphasized the importance of including a helmet, noting that this is a protective gear that prevents head injuries.

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