Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Guest Post: The ABC’s of CPSC, Say What?!



Thank you to Miss Cheryl for Guest Post...

No, this is not a new version on John Jacob Jingle Heimer Smith song! And it is something you should become very familiar with if you, children, and toys are ever in the same room at the same time!  It seems we are consistently hearing about toys and products for children that have been recalled. How can we ever stay on top of it? CPSC stands for Consumer Product Safety Commission and their website is one of the best safety resources you can have on your computer and at your fingertips!

First, a story:
Once upon a time, there was a preschool teacher who was in search of a specific toy. It was very popular with her preschool students. Magnetic blocks! The children LOVED them! And why not- a winner of a toy! Cars and magnets! They could make cars, trains and houses out of them. They came in primary colors with great geometrical shapes on them. When the preschool teacher brought this bin of popular blocks into the classroom, she saw that she needed more! They all played so well and excitedly together with them!

So, she took a mini adventure online in search of more. She checked eBay. Nothing. Amazon. Nothing. So, the infamous Google search. Wow! Page after page of them! But, every web store was “sold out”. She finally found the name of the company who sold them, went to their website and finally, there they were. But, they looked different. These were in multiple colors with stripes on them. None of the primary colored blocks that she had. She continued on with her online search. Surely, someone has a set that would match hers!

The last link she tried brought her to an article—about the recall due to possible choking hazard with the toy! It had been recalled…..2 YEARS ago! The article stated that the magnets caused a choking hazard when they became loose! Aha, that is why the company changed the look…smaller magnets!  Where did I learn this info?  I found that article on the CPSC website.  What about the block magnets in our classroom? You guessed it…in the trash!

Here is how you can avoid this from happening to you!  The ABC’s of the CPSC
Allow yourself some time with a cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa to look around on their website. Sign up for the RSS feed or e-mail digests. Don’t panic! You don’t have to receive recall information on every item recalled in the United States of America! You have the option to specify the type(s) of product recall you want to receive. You can specify only recalls that have to do with children’s items. This is the email digest I requested. I receive 2-3 emails each week.  The email lists the names of the items recalled. If any apply to you, you click the link for information and a summary of the problem. If they do not apply to you, simply delete!

Be proactive, not reactive as I had to be with the magnet blocks! Now that you have the website address, set up a time each week to look up the items you are about to put in your play area for your child(ren) BEFORE they play with them. You’d be surprised what might have been recalled. In some instances the company has offered a free replacement!

C
heck the email when it comes in just in case there is something other than a toy recalled. One email I received this past year informed me about a plastic drinking cup that was recalled due to high levels of lead in the plastic. The cup had a very popular children’s movie character on it and was distributed by a popular restaurant.  Although we did not have any of these drinking cups in our preschool, we knew that the children in our area eat at this restaurant with their families. We printed the article and distributed it to the parents to let them know about it.

Due diligence, by definition refers to acting with a certain standard of care. We now have the tool to stay on top of the safety recall issues that potentially affect the care of our children and to educate other families!

Educate yourself on the contents of the CPSC website and then…….pay the education forward!

Your always-learning and passing-it-on preschool teacher- Miss Cheryl

Miss Cheryl is a preschool teacher in Massachusetts. She is blessing us with blogs about using the ABCJLM Preschool Curriculum in her preschool classroom and other preschool concerns.  Read other posts here.   



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