Citing cases like Devlin's, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced on Aug. 14 a recall of 9 million toys produced by Mattel, including Polly Pocket dolls, Barbies and a die-cast toy car inspired by the movie Cars. "The hazards," says agency spokesman Ed Kang, "are twofold: lead paint that can cause serious problems if ingested, and tiny, powerful magnets that can pinch or perforate intestines if swallowed."
This was just the latest bad news (see box) about toys, especially those made in China, where oversight is limited. What's a parent to do? Toys made in the U.S. may be safer but tend to cost more and can be hard to find. For more information about safety, go to the Internet, says toy-safety blogger Shawn Thornsberry (magnetscankill.spaces.lives.com): "Parents really have to watch out for themselves."
Are your family's toys safe? Visit WWW.CPSC.GOV and WWW.MATTEL.COM/SAFETY