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Child safety cited in call for better toy quality
By Guan Xiaofeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-26 05:40

Children's health and safety and the country's reputation as the world's largest toy-maker are two main reasons China is calling for stricter quality control over its toy products.

Yuan Liangjian, 5, of the city of Dongguan in Guangdong Province, died when he accidentally inhaled a tiny ball attached to a toy flute earlier this year.

Liangjian died on the way to the hospital, pushing his parents into an abyss of sorrow. He was their only child.

According to a survey done by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine this year, almost one toy in seven failed to meet required standards.

The survey also found that woolen and cotton toys were of better quality than toys made of wood and plastic.

The main problems with the substandard toys were false information on the labels, improper fillings and loose fitting of parts.

The survey also found that many toy producers raised the age limit of their products above 3 years old to avoid stricter requirements, and one result is a shortage of toys fit for children under three.

In Zhejiang University's affiliated Children's Hospital in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province, about 30 operations were reported necessary each month to remove objects from children's bodies.

"Many of them were caused by toys," said Jiang Mizhu, a doctor at the hospital, who was interviewed recently by China Central Television.

The Chinese Consumers Association called on the public yesterday at a symposium to be on guard for dangerous toys.

"It is very urgent for our country to set up a market-access system in the toy industry to locate the sources of dangerous toys," said Zhang Shi, an expert with the National Toy Standardization Association.

According to incomplete statistics, the Chinese mainland now has more than 6,000 toy factories, most of which are privately owned.

Many such factories of different sizes have mushroomed in recent years.

Officials at the symposium also urged parents to be aware of hidden dangers.

The Chinese mainland , which accounts for 60 to 70 per cent of the international toy market, has a population of 300 million children under 14 years old, with 80 million living in cities.

(China Daily 05/26/2005 page2)

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