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November 17th, 2008Toy Recalls Drop 46 Percent

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by Annys Shin

Toy recalls are down 46 percent from last year, when manufacturers and retailers were forced to clear shelves of toys containing lead paint, dangerous magnets and in one case, a chemical that left children temporarily comatose.

But federal safety regulators said yesterday that parents should still be on the lookout for toys with small parts that could pose a choking hazard for children, including uninflated or broken balloons. They should also supervise children around scooters, ride-on toys, and battery chargers and adapters that come with electronic toys.

While naming those items as the top toy hazards, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said the number of toy recalls had dropped to 74 in 2008 from 138 in 2007.

At CPSC’s annual toy safety news conference yesterday in a Georgetown shopping mall, acting Chairwoman Nancy Nord attributed the drop in recalls to increased surveillance by the agency, including stepped up inspections at nine ports, stronger voluntary safety standards and efforts by toy manufacturers to keep dangerous toys from reaching the market.

“Toys now on sale . . . have gone through the most intensive safety process to date,” Nord said. “We are looking harder for violations and finding less violations.”

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