Toys the very things meant to delight children - can also injure or even kill them. There is no way to remove all the dangers and still have playthings, but at least the dangers should be more clearly pointed out.
A bill presently in Congress would force reluctant toy makers to put warning labels on toys that contain dangers for small children, specifically those that have small parts on which a child may choke.The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that there have been thousands of injuries due to choking on small parts and even some deaths.
Last year, some 2.9 million toys from domestic manufacturers were recalled for violating safety guidelines. Another 2.2 million imports were seized, and this only from spot checks on imports.
Part of the problem, the commission says, is that labels presently used are vague and uninformative.
For example, "For ages 3 and over." What does that really mean? Does it refer to safety or level of skill needed to use the toy?
Manufacturers generally don't want to get into a labeling program for fear that warning labels may kill sales. Their hesitation is understandable in what is a highly competitive business, but safety for children must take precedence over any other concern.
Congress should approve a labeling law that gives parents more information about small toy parts that could be dangerous to toddlers - even if the toy manufacturers disagree. And it should apply to imports as well.