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Oregon Christmas Shopping Countdown—Shop Safe and Smart

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 By Dondrea Warner/Kevin Clay, Contact
December 20, 2007

Portland, OR - With only a few days until Christmas, shoppers are working overtime to make sure kids get just want they want for the holiday. But because the rush is on, experts say it's even more important for Oregonians to be cautious about their purchases.

Since this summer, nearly 20 million toys imported into the United States have been recalled, many due to high lead content. Attorney Stephen Hendricks with the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association says one place to look for information about recalled toys is on the Web site of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, www.cpsc.gov.

"Unfortunately, parents are faced with the difficulty of not knowing whether a toy is safe. Use the resources available to you to make sure the toy has not been recalled."

However, Hendricks warns that not all dangerous toys are listed. For example, a new alert from the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization says it has discovered asbestos in the fingerprint powder of a new "CSI-Fingerprint Examination Kit" being sold nationwide. It's a product that has not yet been recalled.

In addition to checking for toy recall information online, Hendricks suggests shoppers also follow some common sense safety guidelines.

"We would encourage parents to read the labels of any toys they're thinking about buying. Make sure the toy is age-appropriate -- for small children, watch for the danger of swallowing small parts. Just be certain that it's a toy that is appropriate for the child."

The consumer watchdog group World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) also releases a "Top Ten" list of the most hazardous toys every year. Find it online, at www.toysafety.org.

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