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TOY RECALL ANSWERS FOR PARENTS

What to do about the extensive recall of toys by Mattel? Here are some answers for parents.

What toy was recalled because of lead paint?

Sarge, a die-cast character from the movie "Cars." It is a 3-inch-long, olive green vehicle with a white star on the hood. It may have been sold individually or in assortment packs between May and August.

Which toys were recalled because of magnets?

Sixty-three toys: four kinds of Batman Magna action figures, the Shonen Jump's One Piece play set, toys in the Polly Pocket and Doggie Daycare product lines and the blue pooper scooper in the Barbie & Tanner play set. See the Mattel Web site, service.mattel.com/us, for photographs and detailed descriptions of each toy involved in the recall, or call the Mattel recall hotline, 1-888-597-6597.

How do I know whether the recall affects my child's Sarge car?

The recall applies only to models that are marked "CHINA" on the underside and have a six-character code in white that ends with "7EA." Sarge cars that were made in Thailand or with product codes that end in 5EA, 6Ea or AZ are not affected.

What do I do if my child's Sarge car is affected?

Take it away from your child immediately. Go to the Mattel Web site and follow links to the recall information. From there, you can request a prepaid mailing label that will be e-mailed to you. Use the label to return the toy. Mattel will ship you a $7 voucher within 12 weeks, good at most retailers for any Mattel or Fisher-Price product. Consumers seeking information can call 1-800-916-4997 about the recalled cars.

What kinds of injuries can the recalled products cause?

Lead paint can be toxic to children if it is ingested. The magnets in the recalled Mattel toys can fall out. If a child swallows more than one magnet, the pieces may attract one another and cause a potentially fatal intestinal tear, blockage or infection. If the magnet is inhaled into the lungs, immediate surgery is required, and magnets placed in a child's nose or ears could cause swelling and be difficult to remove.

How many injuries from the recalled products have been reported?

None, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recall is being done voluntarily to prevent possible injury.

Is this recall different from the recent Fisher-Price recall involving lead paint?

Yes. The first recall covered 83 types of toys, including Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer toys, coated with lead paint and made by Mattel's Fisher-Price division.

How did the problems related to the latest recall occur?

The manufacturer of the Sarge vehicles, Early Light Industrial Co. of China, subcontracted the painting of some parts to Hong Li Da, a Chinese company that violated Mattel's standards and used an uncertified supplier's paints . The magnet problems affected toys made between January 2002 and January 2007. Mattel said it has since established new manufacturing standards for magnetic toys.

Where else can I go for information?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission maintains recall information on its Web site, www.cpsc.gov. It also has a hotline at 1-800-638-2772 to handle reports of dangerous products or injuries caused by consumer products.

-- Heather Landy,

McClatchy Newspapers

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