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Collaborating Across Borders: North American Regulators Working Together to Protect Children from Harmful Toys

Release Date: November 19, 2015

Toy Recall 2014

MEXICO CITY – Shoppers across North America are gearing up for the holiday toy shopping season, and federal regulators in the United States, Mexico and Canada are joining forces to help consumers shop with confidence.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Health Canada and Mexico’s Consumer Protection Federal Agency (PROFECO) are holding their Third North America Consumer Product Safety Summit in Mexico City this week, and protecting young children from dangerous and illegal toys is a shared goal among the safety agencies.

Collaboration among the regulators has taken place through joint industry trainings, consumer outreach and education, and three trilateral recall announcements of harmful toys and children’s products. Additional efforts have included joint oversight of product supply chains and timely responses to emerging product hazards. The vision for creating a safer marketplace for consumers across the continent includes: (1) strong safety standards that are enforced, (2) inspections at import, and (3) an emphasis on quality safety manufacturing overseas.

"As we approach the holiday season, our three jurisdictions are working as one to protect children in all three nations from harmful toys," said CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye.  "Despite our real advances in toy safety, we are still finding too many violative toys at our borders. All consumers, regardless of which of our three nations they come from, deserve us working together to protect them.  This is why working toward seamless surveillance across North American borders is a critical part of our collaboration with Health Canada and PROFECO.”

"In today's global marketplace, close collaboration between countries is important for keeping Canadians safe,” said Dr. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, Health Canada. “I look forward to continuing Health Canada's partnership with the CPSC and PROFECO on our shared goals for consumer product safety, including promoting toy safety this holiday season. As a mom and as Canada's new Minister of Health, I'm committed to helping keep families safe."

“Coordinated work among the consumer protection agencies in our region is the starting point to successfully face, in the near future, the challenges presented by the global economy; and, at the same time, assure every consumer that not only are their rights safeguarded, but also that the law exists to assist and protect them,” said Lorena Martínez, Mexico’s Federal Attorney for Consumer Protection (Profeco). “Only by strengthening strategic alliances and sharing efforts and experience, we will reach our mutual goals.”

In addition to working with Health Canada and Profeco, CPSC works closely with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to keep violative products off of store shelves and out of consumers’ homes. In the past six years, the U.S. government has stopped more than 17 million units of about 6,200 different toys that violated applicable standards from coming into the United States.

Click here to view the North American joint statement.  

Here are some safety tips for all consumers to keep in mind this holiday season:

• Magnets – Children's magnetic toys are covered by a strong safety standard that aims to prevent magnets from being swallowed. High-powered magnet sets that have small magnets are dangerous and should be kept away from children. Whether marketed for children or adults, building and play sets with small magnets should also be kept away from small children. 

• Balloons - Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Children can also be strangled by a balloon string. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than 8 years old. Discard torn balloons immediately. 

• Small balls and other toys with small parts - For children younger than age 3, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking. 

• Scooters and other riding toys - Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and other safety gear should be worn properly at all times, and they should be sized to fit. Avoid riding scooters on streets or roadways.

Once gifts are open:

• Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings. 

• Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging. 

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About the U.S. CPSC
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. 

Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.

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