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It's natural to worry about the safety of the toys and gear our kids play with, especially amid major news about dangerous products manufactured in China and other countries. To keep your kids safe, try the following tips:
• Subscribe to the e-mail alerts from the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) at cpsc.gov.
• Always return registration cards that accompany toys and other children's products, so the manufacturer can reach you if the product is recalled.
• Read the warnings and directions that accompany children's products carefully, and assemble products exactly according to instructions. Check for broken parts.
• If you live outside of Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Arkansas, Louisiana, Rhode Island, New Jersey, or Vermont -- the only states that ban the sale of recalled products -- write to your state legislators to urge them to prohibit the sale of dangerous children's products. You can also write to your senators and congressperson to urge them to step up oversight and strengthen the CPSC, or to the toy industry association to let it know you expect it to better police its products.
--Mary C. Hickey
Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the February 2008 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.