By Senator Pryor
As we enter the holiday season, it is critical to ensure that the toys on our shelves are safe. No child should be harmed by a gift that is supposed to bring him or her joy. Thanks to recent legislation cracking down on the sale of dangerous toys, this year parents and grandparents can have more confidence that their children's holiday gifts are safe.
In 2008, Congress passed legislation that I sponsored called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which established stricter safety standards, testing, and punishments to prevent dangerous products from landing on shelves and required swift responses when they did. The legislation required companies to decrease the amount of dangerous chemicals in children's toys, prohibited stores from selling recalled products, and created new maximum fines of up to $15 million for violations.
Since this law was passed, toy safety has steadily improved. Toy recalls have fallen dramatically, from 172 recalls in 2008 to just 44 in 2010, and recalls involving lead have dropped from 19 to 3. Toy-related fatalities have also fallen, from 24 fatalities in 2007 and 2008 to 12 in 2009. These numbers show that our legislation is doing what it was meant to do: keep kids safe.
Parents still must be vigilant as we continue to face new challenges to toy safety. As Chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, this month I held a hearing to discuss ways we can continue to keep dangerous products off shelves and adapt to new threats. We cannot be complacent when it comes to protecting our children.
I will continue to work hard to give families peace of mind as they complete their holiday shopping, and I wish all Arkansans a safe and joyous holiday season.