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New Toy Labels Mean Safer Holidays For Kids

Release Date: November 29, 1995

New warning labels on toys that could choke small children will mean a safer holiday season according to an announcement made today by Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Ann Brown.

Standing before a huge display of toys at FAO Schwartz, Chairman Brown displayed the new warning labels and said that adults will now have new information to help them choose toys that are safe for children. Brown was joined by officials from Prevention Magazine, which released a survey on toy safety.

"These warning labels will appear on all toys made for children from three to under six years old if those toys pose a choking hazard to younger children," Brown said. "These labels tell parents two critical things: They let them know that a toy isn't safe for children under three, and why its not safe."

The labels are required to be on all toys marketed for children from three years old to under six years old and manufactured after January 1, 1995, if those toys present a choking hazard to children under three.

"Before now, parents and grandparents had no way of knowing that the toys they bought for older children could be a danger to younger kids," Brown said. "Now they will have that information right in the store, and will be able to make a purchase based on safety. In addition, they will be able to buy a toy for an older child, knowing that they need to keep that toy away from younger children at home."

According to figures released by the CPSC, 5,000 children were taken to hospital emergency rooms in 1994 for aspirating or ingesting toys and parts of toys. Since 1980, nearly 200 children choked to death on balloons, marbles and small balls -- toys now covered by these new CPSC labeling requirements.

In 1994, CPSC had reports of 18 toy-related deaths. Thirteen of those deaths were associated with choking.

"These deaths were not only tragic, they were preventable." Brown said. "We want people to use these choking hazard warning labels to help them know which toy is safe for which child. We hope the information we are giving out here today will help protect our children, and make this a better holiday for everyone."

During her remarks, Brown stressed the CPSC's commitment to toy safety throughout the year -- not only during the holidays. She cited figures showing the CPSC recalled 10 million toys and children's products in 1994, and had stopped three quarters of a million unsafe toys from being imported into the United States.

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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