If you’re worried about toy safety – that’s good – you should be concerned. Thus far, toy safety has been widely overlooked in the United States. Hopefully though, in 2012, this will change. On December 15th of last year, ASTM-International sent a revised toy safety specification document to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in hopes that new safer toy standards will be adopted in 2012. The new toy safety revisions mainly concern toys that may contain heavy metals and how to measure those quantities for child safety. Other issues covered include the stability of ride-on toys; jaw entrapment; toys with spherical ends; requirements for squeeze toys attached to rings; use of cords, straps and elastics; packaging film; and yo-yo tether balls.

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Leonard Morrissey, director of technical committee operations for ASTM-International tells Consumer Reports, “The heavy metals testing has been made more robust.” Morrissey also noted that revisions about strangulation hazards would be more consistent and that even more safety revisions are expected later on in 2012. Obviously, in a perfect world, what we’d like to see toy standards cover are green and healthy issues as well, such as recycling aspects, zero chemicals, greener materials and toys that encourage active, outdoor play. Still, small toy safety steps are better than no steps at all. With the new revised standards, perhaps we’ll see fewer toy recalls and we, as parents, won’t have to worry so much about what our kids are playing with. If the revisions are approved, they should kick in within 180 days from the December 15th submission date.

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