Consumer Update: Make The Holidays Scam Free

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show
woman shopping

‘Tis the season to beat scammers! Our consumer protection experts are back with us to help you successfully maneuver through retailer promotions, toy safety, online shopping, returns and gift cards.

Featured in this Show

  • 5 Toy Safety Tips For Holiday Shoppers

    It’s December, and you officially have less than a month to finish your holiday shopping. If you’re buying toys for children this year, you may want to consider these toy safety tips from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection before you make your purchases.

    Age Grading Is There For A Reason. The age grading for a toy is much more about the physical development of a child versus the mental development, said Michelle Reinen, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection for DATCP. The statistics and the science behind the age appropriateness is for choking and suffocation hazards.

    “Your child at (age) 1 may be as brilliant as a 5-year-old and can handle the mental aspects of that toy, but can they handle the small parts?” Reinen said. That’s why three and under choking hazard warning labels exists, she said, noting throat development at that age simply isn’t there yet.

    Check The Warning Labels. Look for warnings regarding choking, suffocation, burn, electrical and other hazards will be clearly stated. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, products manufactured in or imported into the United States must comply with the Child Safety Protection Act, which includes warning labels for toys with small balls, small parts, latex balloons and marbles intended for young children.

    Look For Testing Certifications. ASTM-UL indicates a toy has gone through rigorous testing to make sure that if the toy drops and breaks it doesn’t produce sharp and pointy hazards, said Reinen. Last year, more than 500,000 hoverboards from 10 different companies were recalled because of their tendency to burst into flames from overheating of poorly designed lithium battery packs. Reinen said many of those had not gone through UL testing and standards were not yet in place.

    Determine If Safety Gear Is Needed For A Toy. Be sure to also purchase helmets, wrist guards, knee pads, elbow pads, etc., if these are recommended or required.

    Identify A Safe Place To Play. If you’re giving a toy with small parts to an older child, but a younger child is in the same household, the choking and suffocation hazards still exist. If you’re in that situation, Reinen suggested designating a safe place to play to avoid those hazards.

    “And read those instructions as well, making sure that everyone knows how to use the toy properly,” she said.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Jill Nadeau Producer
  • Michelle Reinen Guest
  • Sandy Chalmers Guest