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Watching your medications when you're with your grandchildren
Your Boomer Guide Is a Month Old Now

Buying safe toys for your grandchildren

I seldom buy toys for my grandchildren anymore. I usually buy books.

Why? Because more than 25 million unsafe toys were recalled in 2007.

What's the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission doing about the serious problem of unsafe toys flooding the American marketplace?

Manufacturers are testing more toys and more inspections are occurring, Patty Davis, commission spokesman, told me in an interview. "Toys are under more scrutiny that ever before."

When unsafe topys are recalled, they're to be removed from stores.

Grandparents need to sign up to get automatic recall notification from the commission. See That way they will have timely informationAqua_dots about new toy recalls. The site can also be used to get information on recent recalls.

Grandparents can check  to see if the toys they are interested in purchasing were found to have toxic levels of chemicals in them. is based on research conducted by environmental health organizations and other researchers around the country.

Grandparents should arm themselves with information about toy safety, says Donald Mays, senior director for product safety planning at Consumers Union, publishers of Consumer Reports.

If grandparents are concerned about lead in toys they have purchased, they can order a testing kit, says Mays. The December issue of Consumer Reports lists some kits that were tested by Consumers Union.

Grandparents should watch out for toys that have small powerful magnets called rare-earth magnets, he advises. When two or more of the magnets are swallowed, they can cause serious problems.

Mays also advises grandparents to read labels and buy age appropriate toys. See two booklets from the commission for information: "Which Toy for Which Child (0-5)" and "Which Toy for Which Child (6-12)."

Bills have been introduced in Congress to strengthen the commission's watchdog role and hold manufacturers responsible for bringing unsafe products into the marketplace. Some states also are considering toy safety legislation.


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