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July 2000  -  Volume 3  -  Issue 5

What Toy Labels Really Mean
Rachelle Vander Schaaf, PARENTS magazine
August 1997

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPSC) requires that toy labels let parents know if, and why, a toy is unsafe. For instance, a label might state: "Warning: Choking hazard – small parts. Not for children under 3 years."

Yet a survey of more than 900 adults has found that one third of them believe the age on a label refers to a child’s developmental ability. "Parents may buy a toy for a child 2 or under believing she has the cognitive ability to handle it," says CSPS chairman Ann Brown. "But the stated risk, choking, exists for even the brightest 2-year-old, whose curious nature may prompt her to explore it with her mouth."

The CSPS’s advice: Read labels, and follow them. They will help you make a safe purchase for a baby or toddler and tell you when an older child’s toy should be kept away from a younger sibling.

1997 Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing. Reprinted from PARENTS magazine by permission

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