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Keep TN Christmas Joy from Becoming Tragedy

December 13, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Extra caution is being advised this holiday season in picking out gifts for children. Earlier this year, items of children's jewelry were found to contain unsafe levels of cadmium, a toxic metal that's known to cause cancer.

Nashville attorney Mark Chalos says despite improved safety standards and a strong civil justice system that can find manufacturers liable for injuries, it's still important that parents pay attention and make wise choices.

"The government has some role in insuring that the potential dangers are fully disclosed, so that when you're dealing with dangerous materials used in the manufacture of the toys, that that information is conveyed to the parents, to let the parents make good decisions."

Chalos says parents should make sure the toys are age-appropriate, because toys for older children may have small parts that can be choking hazards to younger children.

He suggests being especially careful when buying gifts at thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales.

"Smaller stores, particularly stores that sell either second-hand or very cheap goods, we may see with those cheaper products, less controls or corners cut. So, parents need to use their common sense."

There was a 54 percent increase in toy-related injuries in the years from 1999 to 2008, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In 2008 alone, the agency says, injuries from toys caused more than 235,000 emergency room visits and 19 deaths.

Randy O'Brien, Public News Service - TN