Home / Highlight / Steve Pasierb: ‘Debunking the myths around toy safety is a global effort’

Steve Pasierb: ‘Debunking the myths around toy safety is a global effort’

Our fellow member nations of the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI), their collective thousands of members, and The US Toy Association’s more than 1,000 members work day-in and day-out to ensure the quality and safety of toys and games before they reach store shelves.

Unfortunately, in the United States, NGOs turn their attention to allegedly “unsafe” toys in the lead-up to the holidays. Each year just before Thanksgiving, these groups release inaccurate lists of “dangerous” toys in the hopes of garnering national headlines.

The Toy Association debunks their false claims for media and consumers and underscores the entire industry’s steadfast dedication to safety, above all else.

This year, we will again point out the wrongness of such reports while providing toy shoppers and gift-givers with practical advice, including how to exercise due diligence when shopping online by being aware of exactly where, and from which seller, toys are originating from; how to dig deeper into a lesser-known online seller’s history to ensure legitimacy; why you should always follow the age-grading on packaging; and why it’s critical to keep toys with small parts away from children under three.

If a member’s product is included in one of these NGO lists, our team examines the safety and testing background of the product while providing counsel on appropriate actions to take. Frequently, we speak on behalf of the company to media regarding the safety question at hand.

Behind the scenes, The Toy Association and its members are focused on ensuring safety year-round. We work hand-in-hand with coalitions, US and international government bodies and agencies (including the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and Environmental Protection Agency), and standards organisations (including ASTM in the U.S. and ISO and IEC in the international arena) to review, revise, and strengthen safety standards and regulations and advocate for industry interests when countries with key toy markets propose or implement non-aligned standards, onerous conformity assessment procedures, or other trade barriers.

Recently, with our colleagues at the Canadian Toy Association, we made advancements in efforts to align US standards with those in Canada. There are working groups in each country planning to identify areas within the toy standards to propose for Canadian alignment in 2020.

Our team also traveled to Seoul, South Korea in September for meetings of the ISO technical committee on toy safety. The Toy Association led the U.S. delegation to the meeting while our staff and members hold key leadership roles and actively participate in the ISO process. This year, working groups led by The Toy Association are focused on microbiology, expanding toys, flying toys, alignment of standards, and a new effort regarding age grading, among others.

Safety is on our minds every day of the year as it is for all in the legitimate toy community. The Toy Association remains committed to supporting companies that produce and deliver safe toys to kids, and we want families to feel assured that the playthings they bring into their homes are safe.

We will not hesitate to call out bad actors or e-commerce sites ignoring the rules. 

Finally, parents and caregivers should be directed to the consumer-friendly website, www.PlaySafe.org, for practical safety tips and trustworthy information. Keeping children safe at play is a responsibility shared by all.

About Robert Hutchins

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