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'Wrapping Up' Holiday Shopping - Check List Twice for Safety

December 17, 2007

Denver, CO – Coloradans' last mad dash to cross those remaining names off their holiday shopping lists is on this week, but don't forget to check that list twice, for safety. Many recalled toys are still featured in advertising, since the ad campaigns were designed before the problems came to light.

James Swartz with World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) says his group has spent years educating parents about toys that are choking hazards or strangulation risks. But now, parents also have less obvious safety hazards to worry about.

"With these other issues, like the chemicals, lead and those kinds of things, consumers understandably feel a bit helpless. There's no way to know, and they're very much relying, as we all are, on the government and the industry to do the right thing."

One of the most-hyped toys, "Aqua-Dots," turned out to be so dangerous that it was added as Number 11 to WATCH's "Top Ten" list of most hazardous toys this year.

"This is an important lesson. Just the fact that these toys are getting out to the shelves in the United States doesn't necessarily mean that they're safe."

Swartz advocates for testing every toy before it gets to store shelves. He says right now, testing is typically done after the toy is on the market. He adds that recalls are not effective in keeping dangerous products away from consumers because most products are never returned to stores.

The WATCH list of most dangerous toys for 2007 can be found online, at www.toysafety.org.

Eric Mack/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - CO