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What should grandparents do about toy safety until protections from new law are in place?

Last week, President Bush signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

The law will ban lead and phthalates in toys, require mandatory third-party testing of toys, strengthen standards for all terrain vehicles, and revamp the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Phthalates are chemicals added to plastics to make them flexible.

Since the law won’t take effect for six months, parents and grandparents may not see safer toys on the market until 2009.

An exception: In a post,“In Search of Safe Toys,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer consumer reporter Phuong Cat Le said Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us have indicated they're planning to phase out phthalates in toys by the end of the year.

What should parents and grandparents to about unsafe toys until the new law takes effect?

Phuong’s post advises soft, squeezable plastic teethers, rattles, and other toys should be disposed of. Buy replacements after the ban takes effect. Substitutes for teething rings can be cold, wet cloths or fabric teethers or having babies such on frozen celery stalks or frozen mini-bagels.

Her post also offers these Web sites and blogs for safe alternatives:

healthytoys.org

zrecs.blogspot.com

squidoo.com/saferbabytheethers

For details on the new law, see “Toy Safety Law: What's in It?”

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