from the New Mexico News Connection - A statewide news service for New Mexico
Albuquerque - There's a new tool to help parents be sure that the toys they pluck from store shelves this holiday shopping season are safe for children. Choking hazards, high levels of lead and recently banned chemicals that can affect children's development are just of the few things that can be found in toys still on store shelves this holiday shopping season. But a new tool can help parents identify and avoid those products while they shop.
Katie Lobasco is with the New Mexico Public Interest Research Group. She says they tested a number of toys for hidden dangers like lead paint and recently-banned phthalates found in many plastics. Their results are available in a new report online that parents can access from iPhones and Blackberries. Lobasco ponts out "Parents and shoppers go to our mobile site - www.toysafety.mobi, they'll find our list of toys we found that are potentially dangerous."
That list includes things like an Elmo lunch box with illegal amounts of phthalates, and a preschool book with paint containing lead levels more than ten times the legal limit. Lobasco cautions that their list is not all inclusive, but they also offer guidelines to help shoppers know what to watch for, as well as a tool to report suspicious products.
Lobasco says the online tool also offers simple ways to make sure that toys don't present a choking hazard, "Parents at home can just use a toilet paper roll, and if it fits inside there, the toy shouldn't be for children under three years old - it's too small." The list of dangerous toys is also at toysafety.net .