Wal-Mart Launches Toy Safety Net Program

In light of recent concerns over toy recalls, Wal-Mart today outlined enhanced toy safety efforts to give parents additional reassurance as the holidays approach.

Its new supplier-to-shelf safety program will underscore and support the strenuous activity being taken by branded manufacturers and the toy industry.

“We’ve heard parents’ concerns over recent recalls and we’re working hard to be their advocate, ensuring everyone involved in the toy business plays their part in improving standards,” said Laura Phillips, Wal-Mart’s merchandise manager over toys.  "Parents need reassurance over quality and safety -we feel the very same way and will work night and day to help.  Our commitment to low prices does not come at any cost.”

The program covers five main areas:

•    More Checking – Wal-Mart is asking all toy suppliers to re-submit testing documentation for toys currently on Wal-Mart shelves or on their way to stores.  And with more testing than ever being done by toy suppliers, that will reassure customers that Wal-Mart has the most up-to-date information about the toys on its shelves.

•    More Testing - Wal-Mart has immediately engaged leading independent laboratories to carry out an average of 200 additional tests each day.  Toys being tested first are those for children up to the age of three, including ones that can easily end up in a child’s mouth.  This will also cover toys with a surface coating and/or contain magnets.  The testing doesn’t duplicate, but complements current toy manufacturers’ efforts and ensures all suppliers – whatever their size –have access to the best testing available at a reasonable costs.

•    More Dialogue – Wal-Mart will ensure the results of its tests are shared with whole industry –retailers and manufacturers.  It will play a full part in building consumer confidence through groups such as the Toy Industry Association (TIA).  Later this month, Wal-Mart plans to cooperate with the TIA in supporting new measures aimed at ensuring higher safety standards.

•    More help for China – Wal-Mart also stands ready to help leaders in China who are implementing new testing procedures to ensure the highest safety standards for toy products. 

•    More Selection - Wal-Mart will continue to identify and work with toy manufacturers from all across the world on finding new toy products for its shelves and providing parents with greater choice.