From the December 2017 issue

Top Dangers of Counterfeit Toys

Cheap, often foreign-manufactured toys may be alluring, but they can pose big dangers to your kids' safety and aren't as good of a buy as they may seem. Magformers CEO Chris Tidwell explains.

Brought to you by Magformers

‘Tis the season for buying toys. From the latest and greatest to the good old classics, your kid’s list has them all on there. But as you start checking them off, take a note from Santa’s book and check those toys twice to be sure the toy you’re buying is authentic. “If it’s not, it could pose a serious threat to your child’s safety,” says Magformers CEO Chris Tidwell.

Importance of product testing

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, toys manufactured in the United States must be tested and certified to ASTM F 963-16, The Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety. This rigorous and thorough testing looks at each element of every toy to make sure that it won’t cause harm to your child. “It costs money to get toys certified, so a lot of counterfeits don’t do it. They care about their profits more than your child’s safety,” says Tidwell. “If you buy a counterfeit, not only do you support a company that disregards your child’s safety, you also are putting your child at risk.”

Understanding choking hazards

Kids do the strangest things, and sometimes that includes putting anything they can into their mouths – and their toys will undoubtedly be one of those items. Genuine American toy manufacturers have to ensure that their toys can handle that. Magformers, which has small magnets that allows kids to create various shapes and structures, has to make sure the magnets won’t fall out and become a choking hazard for your child. “They are subjected to regular safety testing to ensure the pieces are made to a very high standard, so that the small magnets are encapsulated safely and will not come loose even with a reasonable level of abuse during play,” Tidwell says.

Fire and chemical hazard risks

“Say you buy a hovercraft. You’re going to plug it into the wall to charge it. Don’t you want to be sure it won’t catch your house on fire?” Tidwell stresses that counterfeit products don’t necessarily undergo the same rigorous testing as genuine products, which means that it could cause all sorts of damage to you, your home or your children.

Also, we’ve all heard about the lead paint on kids’ toys, but there’s so much more to consider. “Even the paints in a paint kit could be toxic,” says Tidwell. “The only way to be sure that it’s safe is to buy from reputable retailers.”

Quality and durability

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“Not all plastics are created equal,” says Tidwell. “You want to be sure that your kid’s new Barbie doll won’t just snap in half or that her accessories don’t break. If you buy a counterfeit product, it’s more likely the toy just won’t hold up.” The plastic used in genuine Magformers (a type of ABS plastic) is of a very high quality created specifically for Magformers to ensure durability and safety.

Bought a counterfeit?

If you do happen to buy a counterfeit product, Tidwell advises you to speak up and report the seller to the Consumer Safety Bureau. “We invest so much money to try and reduce the number of counterfeits on the market for you. We are trying our best to not only provide a safe toy for your child, but also to keep your child safe from the fakes.” If you get a counterfeit, report it and dispose of it. Use it as a reminder to be more aware in future purchases. “Shopping online is still relatively new. You have to watch out for third party sellers, and they’re everywhere. You can’t verify where the toy came from with them, so you increase your risk of counterfeits.” When it doubt, Tidwell suggests parents buy directly from the toy manufacturer or licensed retailer to ensure that the toy is authentic and safe for their child.

Looking to increase your child’s creative play time? Discover the array of Magformers sets at Magformers.com.

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