This has been a troubling year for parents of young children, the largest number of toy recalls since the 1980's. Thousands of toys have been pulled from shelves because of lead paint... and toy companies admit the testing is ongoing.
Tonight, Money Alert Reporter Paula Toti is live in Avondale with folks from the Cincinnati Health Department, where we've teamed up to offer families free lead testing.
This is the Hirsh Recreation Center on Reading Road. Anyone can stop by until seven tonight. If you can't make it down, we want to give you some simple guidelines when toy shopping this holiday season. And there are things to look for in your own toy box.
Be especially careful if you see red or yellow paint. We found red paint tested positive for lead on a couple of toys we tested before tonight. If there is paint applied over the surface, don't give the toy to a child young enough to put the toy in their mouth.
That should also be the guideline for the buttons on clothing of young children. Don't buy painted buttons, just to be on the safe side.
Know that most of the toy recalls are for toys made in China. Be especially careful with those. And when we tested toys, we were concerned lead could be under the coating of certain toys and their packaging, like this item.
And if you're buying "toy food" or toy dishes, be careful if buying used or online ... these are items where mouth activity is encouraged and that could be dangerous.
Here's some good news about future shopping... some manufacturers say they are now testing every product run, which should have an impact by next Christmas.
And the toy industry is working on setting up an independent testing organization, like Underwriters Laboratories, which certifies household appliances. But that is more than a year away.