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Toy Association’s Steve Pasierb: Spreading the word about toy safety

Despite what might currently be outside your window, summer is here, and along with “better weather” and longer days, comes more opportunities for families to get outside and play.

It’s also the perfect time for all of us in the toy community to remind parents and caregivers about how to choose appropriate toys, facilitate safe play, and reap the rewards of playtime all summer long.

At The Toy Association in the United States, we’ve been busy promoting safe play with our “Top Tips for Safe Play this Summer” infographic (which we disseminated to media along with a feature story, generating 3,800 news articles in community newspapers in every state), and a printable “Top 5 Tips for Fun and Safe Play” brochure, which covers key safety guidance for families.

Meanwhile, our www.PlaySafe.org website continues to be a trusted safety resource – it includes tips for new parents, recent US toy recalls, advice on shopping for safe toys, and much more. I encourage everyone in the industry, from manufacturers to retailers, to share these free resources with their customers, social media followers, families, and friends.

There’s so much inappropriate negativity when it comes to toy safety – we want families to feel confident in the safety of toys purchased from legitimate sources and empowered to ensure their kids are playing safely at home.

We’ve also been building awareness about the importance and benefits of play. The Genius of Play recently hosted its first-ever “Play All May” month-long celebration of play, generating national buzz with millions of media impressions and social media engagements. With the help of our member companies, online influencers, and the public at large, the campaign reached families nationwide to educate them about play’s vital importance. (Even our own staff got in on the fun, hosting our first-ever Staff Olympics competition with challenges like axe throwing, scooter racing, and an unboxing contest – proof that you’re never too old to play.)

Please check out and share our many play ideas and resources for parents and caregivers, found at www.TheGeniusofPlay.org.

On the industry side, our safety messaging reached retailers attending ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy, in early June. Toy Association staff Rebecca Mond and Adrienne Appell led a session that provided store owners with tips for educating families on safe play, and updates on toy safety standards and key issues, including counterfeits sold on e-commerce platforms and online data privacy.

Later this summer we’ll be exhibiting at the Safe Kids Worldwide Childhood Injury Prevention Convention (PREVCON) in Washington, DC, which will be attended by a widespread audience of child injury prevention leaders and advocates.

The Toy Association will highlight the industry’s longstanding role in developing and maintaining stringent toy safety standards and regulations and share our safety tips and resources so that attendees can pass along this important information to their own communities. And we continue to meet and engage with allied industries throughout the year to build partnerships for The Genius of Play and motivate families to spend more time engaged in playful activities.

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, we’ll be refining our media and consumer messages regarding toy and play safety, with special attention to growing safety concerns of rogue sellers utilising online marketplaces to skirt safety regulations and product testing by selling counterfeit toys. 

Our Association, the British Toy and Hobby Association, Toy Industries of Europe and many others continue to push back on this very real risk to children’s safety that also undermines the industry-wide commitment to delivering safe, fun and developmentally enriching toys and playthings.

If you’d like to learn more about our safety or Genius of Play initiatives, I encourage you to drop us a line (kmorency@toyassociation.org for safety; ayudina@toyassociation.org for Genius of Play). Working together, we can all ensure that every play date is both fun and safe.

About Robert Hutchins

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