Consumer Group Launches Additional Tools to Help Parents, Toy Shoppers

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Elizabeth Hitchcock, Public Health Advocate
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
Office: 202-546-9707, ext. 316
elizabeth@pirg.org

Additional information: Jane Regan
Communications Director
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
jregan@pirg.org

Consumer Group Launches Additional Tools to Help Parents, Toy Shoppers

WASHINGTON - Due to overwhelming interest in keeping kids safe this holiday
season, two new social media sites - http://www.facebook.com/toysafety and http://www.twitter.com/toysafetynews - were launched on
Monday.

The
sites are the work of the U.S. Public
Interest Research Group
(U.S. PIRG), which just two weeks ago released its
24th annual Trouble
in Toyland
report and a new, popular new interactive toy safety tool,
http://toysafety.mobi

 

The
consumer group kicked off the new tools because of the overwhelming interest in
the report and interactive site - accessible by mobile phone and home
computer.

Since
November 24, the launch date of Trouble in Toyland and the site,
over 20,000 people have used http://www.toysafety.mobi, which Mobithinking
recently called "mobile site of the week."

Almost
20,000 people have accessed the Trouble in Toyland report and
more than 30,000 have checked out http://www.toysafety.net, the toy safety page on
U.S. PIRG's website.

The
report and site have also received nationwide media attention and were featured
in the Washington
Post
, on CNN-Money,
ABC's
"Now You Know
," and in or on almost 100 other broadcasts, newspapers,
and online news sites and blogs across the country.

"Now,
in addition to our new toy safety site and this year's toy safety report,
people can stay up to date on important news and developments relevant to toys
and kids' health by subscribing to our Twitter feed or by becoming fans
of our Facebook page,"
explained Elizabeth
Hitchcock, U.S. PIRG's Public Health Advocate
and the author of the
24th annual Trouble in Toyland

Trouble
in Toyland

and http://www.toysafety.mobi provide parents and
others with a list of dangerous toys and other products, as well as with
guidelines to help shoppers avoid three common hazards in children's
products: toys and products which could cause choking, which could cause deafness,
or which could contain potentially dangerous chemicals. People can also send in
reports toys and products they think are dangerous via an online report page.

The
new social media sites have links to the report and interactive site, but they
also will provide frequent updates on toy safety and on other issues of concern
to parents.

"There
is clearly an interest in keeping our kids safe from all the potentially
dangerous toys and other products out there. We hope that these two new
initiatives will help parents and others stay abreast of developments,"
Hitchcock said.

Hitchcock
noted that progress has been made on toy and product safety in the past year,
thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and new
leadership at the CPSC.

But
there is still more work to be done to protect America's kids, she added.

As
an example, Hitchcock cited her own 24th annual Trouble in
Toyland
, which found 16 dangerous children's toys and products,
like a toy
cell phone so loud, it can damage a child's hearing, a cloth baby book containing
lead paint, or a stacked rings toy with parts that could block a child's
airway.

"However,
we can report some success," Hitchcock said. "Since we released our
report, at least four of the toys we found are no longer for sale at the stores
where we bought them, but there are likely more dangers out there. That's
why we've launched the Facebook and Twitter efforts."

LINKS:

Facebook
- http://www.facebook.com/toysafety
Twitter
- http://www.twitter.com/toysafetynews
Interactive
toy safety site - http://www.toysafety.mobi
U.S.
PIRG's toy safety page and a link to Trouble in Toyland
report - http://www.toysafety.net

###

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.

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