According to the 1980 Consumer Product Safety Commission’s small parts standard, toys with small parts that pose a choking hazard cannot be marketed for children under the age of 3 years. To comply with the standard, toy manufacturers place age labels on packaging to indicate the ages for which toys with small parts are recommended. We conducted a survey of 199 toy buyers to determine the degree to which they understood such labels as warnings and whether more explicit warning labels would affect toy buyers’ willingness to purchase toys with small parts for children between 2 and 3 years of age. Forty-four percent of respondents said they would buy for a child between 2 and 3 years of age a toy with the label “Recommended for 3 and up”; only 5% said they would buy for a young child a toy with the label “Not recommended for below 3—small parts.” These findings indicate that a change in the small parts standard to require more specific labeling might substantially reduce potentially hazardous toy purchases.
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