HARRISBURG – Attorney General Tom Corbett urged consumers to carefully consider safety issues when purchasing toys or video games as holiday gifts, unveiling a new “Consumer Safety” section of the Attorney General’s Web site to provide consumers with quick and easy access to information about product recalls, game ratings and other related topics.
“As the holiday shopping season continues, it is important for adults to consider the safety of the toys and games they are buying for their children, grandchildren, family and friends,” Corbett said. “I encourage all consumers to shop carefully for gifts that are safe and appropriate, including checking a video game’s rating, to be certain that the toys and games they are giving are the best choices for kids.”
Corbett said that over the past several months, consumers have been inundated with a series of news stories about recalls involving dangerous toys — everything from lead-based paint or chemical contamination to small parts that can pose a choking hazard or cause other injuries.
Additionally, Corbett stressed that it is essential for parents and other adults to take steps to be certain that toys or games are age-appropriate for the children who will be receiving them.
“It can be difficult to keep up with the list of toys covered by various recalls,” Corbett said, “which is why we encourage parents and other adults to use the Internet – including the Attorney General’s Web site – to research items thoroughly before they make a purchase. It is also a good idea to double-check the toys you already have in your home, to be certain that all of those items are safe.”
Corbett said that parents and other concerned consumers can visit the “Consumer Safety” section of the Attorney General’s website for links to information about recalls involving potentially hazardous toys. He noted that the Consumer Safety section of the website also contains information about other recalled products, including hazardous foods, vehicle recalls, and safety issues with appliances and a variety of other consumer items. In addition, the site includes links to organizations like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and other national agencies involved in product recalls.
Corbett also urged shoppers to keep game safety in mind when considering video games as holiday gifts – especially in situations where younger children will be receiving the games.
“The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for game sales, with almost half of all video games sold at this time of year,” Corbett said. “It is important for adults to carefully review game rating information when considering items for young children.”
Corbett explained that every video game includes rating information which shows the recommended age range for the game, as well as a description of any game content that might be a concern – like violence, strong language or sexual content. He noted that some popular games titles are rated “T,” for Teens, meaning they are not suitable for kids under the age of 13, or “M,” for Mature audiences, meaning that they are not suitable for kids younger than 17.
Corbett said that extensive information about video game content is produced by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Links to detailed ESRB information about video game ratings, including the ability to search for games based on their rating or content, are also available on the Consumer Safety section of the Attorney General’s website.
As with any other consumer purchase, Corbett urged holiday shoppers to educate themselves about the products they are considering and make informed decisions about their holiday gifts.
“Do some research about toys and games now, before you make a purchase, and read all material carefully before you hand things over to your kids,” Corbett said. “Some careful thought and planning now, considering both toy safety and game ratings, can help eliminate a variety of problems during the holiday season and long afterwards.”