Standing Guard for Consumers: CPSC, CBP at U.S. Ports Protecting Consumers This Holiday Season
ELIZABETH, N.J.—Today, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Inez Tenenbaum and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar visited Port Elizabeth, N.J., to announce efforts to keep families safe from dangerous children's products this holiday season.
CPSC and CBP are working together at ports across the U.S. to help protect families and keep unsafe products off the shelves this holiday season. So far this year, CBP and CPSC personnel together have seized more than 2 million units of dangerous toys and children's products.
Chairman Tenenbaum and Deputy Commissioner Aguilar urged parents and other family members to be vigilant when making toy purchases.
"Proactive surveillance at the ports, strong toy standards, and educational efforts create a safer holiday toy shopping experience for consumers by keeping dangerous products off store shelves," said Chairman Tenenbaum. "Ultimately our goal is to protect our most vulnerable population-kids-and keep them safe this holiday season."
"Together with CPSC, we have intercepted record amounts of unsafe products," said Deputy Commissioner Aguilar. "We are here to raise consumers' awareness about the very real danger of unsafe products and urge consumers to be vigilant when buying toys and children's products this holiday season."
Over the past four years, CPSC and CBP have stopped more than 8.5 million units of about 2,400 different toys and children's products due to safety hazards or the failure to meet federal safety standards. By seizing dangerous toys and children's products at U.S. ports of entry, CBP and CPSC keep unsafe products off store shelves and out of consumers' homes.
Since 2008, seizures have nearly doubled both in quantity and value for consumer products imported into the U.S. The coordination between CBP, CPSC and other agencies has resulted in successful targeting, joint operations and coordinated enforcement actions on dangerous products, including harmful children's toys.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will facilitate about $2 trillion in legitimate trade this year while enforcing U.S. trade laws that protect the economy, the health and the safety of the American people. We accomplish this through close partnerships with the trade community, other government agencies and foreign governments. CBP works closely with CPSC to identify potentially unsafe shipments to check at ports of entry to ensure the safety of imported toys.
CBP has targeted more than 5,000 high-risk shipments for examination through the Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC) in Washington on behalf of CPSC, leading to the seizure of thousands of dangerous imported consumer products. In November, CTAC targeting lead to a large shipment of toys being seized at the area port of Jacksonville, Fla. In total, nearly 24,000 toys, valued at $220,000, were seized by CBP for CPSC lead violations.
In fiscal year 2012, CPSC recalled 38 toys, three of which involved a lead violation. Toy recalls have continued to decline since 2008. There were 172 recalls in fiscal year 2008, 50 recalls in fiscal year 2009, 46 toy recalls in fiscal year 2010, and 34 recalls in 2011. Most toy recalls in 2012 were due to small parts, choking hazards or sharp points.
Toy-related death reports to CPSC involving children younger than 15-years-old decreased to 13 in 2011 from 19 fatalities in 2010 and 17 reported in 2009. The majority of these toy-related fatalities were attributed to asphyxiation, choking or drowning. These included children choking on balloons, drowning after trying to retrieve a toy from a swimming pool, or being found with tricycles in swimming pools.
The Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries Report released by CPSC today estimated 193,200 toy-related, emergency department-treated injuries to children younger than 15 years of age occurred in 2011. Many of the incidents were associated with, but not necessarily caused by, a toy. For children younger than 15-years-old, non-motorized scooters continued to be the category of toys associated with the most injuries. Frequently, these injuries involved lacerations, contusions, and abrasions to the child's face and head.
Safety tips that consumers should keep in mind this holiday season:
- Balloons - Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children under the age of 8. Discard broken balloons immediately.
- Small balls and other toys with small parts - For children under the age of 3, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
- Scooters and other riding toys - Riding toys, skateboards, and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times, and they should be sized to fit.
- Magnets - High powered magnet sets are dangerous and should be kept away from children under the age of 14. Building & play sets with small magnets should also be kept away from small children.
Once gifts are open:
- Immediately discard plastic wrapping or other toy packaging before they become dangerous play things.
- Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
- Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.
Along with educating the public, CPSC is committed to working with foreign and domestic toy manufacturers, importers and retailers to help them understand and comply with U.S. toy requirements.
In addition this year, CPSC joined international safety agencies in Canada and Mexico to promote toy safety education and awareness. CPSC along with Health Canada and Mexico's Procuraduria Federal del Consumidor (PROFECO) have released toy safety tips for choosing, purchasing and supervising the use of children's toys. This cooperative effort with CPSC's North American partners helps to ensure a safer marketplace.
CPSC is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion annually.
CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products-such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals-contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
Under federal law, it is illegal to attempt to sell or resell a recalled product. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, go online to: SaferProducts.gov, call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054 for the hearing and speech impaired. Consumers can obtain this news release and product safety information at www.cpsc.gov. To join a free e-mail subscription list, please go to their website.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.