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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
November 22, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Consumer Affairs
- Kimberly Ricketts, Director

 

Jeff Lamm, Kara Wood
973-504-6327

 

Consumer Affairs and NJPIRG Urge Consumers to be Vigilant
About Toy Safety this Holiday Season

TRENTON - The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group today joined forces to educate and alert consumers to the potential hazards of children’s toys as the holiday shopping season begins in earnest this week.

"Shopping for children’s toys is always a fun experience, but it also demands our careful attention and research as not all toys are safe for all children," said Consumer Affairs Director Kimberly Ricketts. "That is why we are working hard to make New Jersey shoppers aware of the potential hazards involved, so we can help make this year’s holiday season safer than ever for kids throughout the state."

During the annual toy safety news conference with NJPIRG in Trenton, Director Ricketts distributed a list that "red-flags" some of the more hazardous toys that have already been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Investigators from the Office of Consumer Protection and county consumer affairs agencies throughout the state will be visiting toy stores during the holiday season to ensure that these recalled toys have been removed from the shelves. If any recalled toys are found, inspectors will advise the store to remove them from the shelves and will report their findings to the CPSC. A complete list of recalled toys is available on the CPSC Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

"While these toys should no longer be on the shelves of local toy stores or available on-line, the reality is that these toys are likely still in the marketplace, and unknowing consumers may still purchase them," said Director Ricketts. "We will be canvassing the state throughout the holiday season to make sure that toy stores are not carrying these products and, if they are, that they are removed from the shelves."

Additionally, Director Ricketts recommended that shoppers follow these common-sense tips for toy safety, both before and after purchasing gifts this holiday season:

When selecting toys, shoppers should:

  • Avoid toys that have objects that can be shot or propelled.
  • Avoid toys that make loud noises, like cap guns, because they can damage a child’s hearing.
  • Make sure strings and ribbons are no longer than 6 inches to prevent strangulation, and
  • Avoid toys with sharp points or edges.

After purchasing toys, consumers should:

  • Spot check toys regularly for minor damage and urge children to let you know when a toy needs repair.
  • Throw away all toy packaging, such as plastic, cellophane and Styrofoam.
  • Make sure batteries in toys are properly installed and never allow your child to sleep with a battery-operated toy.
  • Teach your child to use every toy properly.

"We teach our children to do their homework and use common-sense, and we should follow those same rules when shopping for toys this holiday season," concluded Director Ricketts. "The health and safety of our children depends on it."

###


New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
2005 TOY SAFETY TASK FORCE HAZARD LIST

  • DesignWare 4 Fairy Wand Party Favors (distributed by American Greetings Corporation)
    • Hazard: The fairy wand party favors can break apart, exposing sharp wires that pose a laceration hazard to children.
    • Sold at: Toy, discount, drug, grocery, party and specialty gift stores.
  • Sparkle Horse Toy (distributed by Douglas Company of Keene, New Hampshire)
    • Hazard: Beads of glitter glue on the colored ribbons could detach and pose an aspiration hazard to young children.
    • Sold at: Specialty toy and gift stores.
  • Floor Mat Map games (distributed by Hidden Hills Productions, Inc. of Westlake Village, California)
    • Hazard: The orange paint on the floor mat maps contains excess levels of lead. Lead poisoning is a serious hazard to children and is associated with behavioral problems, learning disabilities, hearing problems and growth retardation.
    • Sold at: Educational, book, museum and specialty toy stores.
  • Children’s Fishing Kits (distributed by Shakespeare Fishing Tackle Division of Columbia, South Carolina)
    • Hazard: The paint on the rods of these fishing poles contain lead, which is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.
    • Sold at: Discount department, sporting good and toy stores.
  • Lemon Meringue Wooden Push Toys (manufactured by Pamela Drake, Inc., of Emeryville, California)
    • Hazard: Small parts can break off, posing a choking hazard to young children.
    • Sold at: Toy and hobby stores.
  • Lil’ Wagster Dragster Push Toys (manufactured by Fisher-Price of Aurora, New York)
    • Hazard: A young chid’s chin, jaw and teeth can get lodged in the opening at the top of the push toy’s round shaped handle and incur injuries.
    • Sold at: Discount department stores and toy stores.
  • Grow-To-Pro Pogo Sticks (manufactured by Fisher-Price of Aurora, New York)
    • Hazard: An internal metal pin can wear down, causing the pogo sticks to remain stuck in the down position and release unexpectedly, posing a risk of fall or facial impact injuries to children.
    • Sold at: Discount department stores and toy stores.
  • Children’s Fishing Poles (distributed by W.C. Bradley/Zebco Holdings Inc. doing business as Zebco, of Tulsa, Oklahoma)
    • Hazard: The paint on the rods of these fishing poles contain lead, which is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.
    • Sold at: Discount department, sporting good and toy stores.

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