Toys R Us, Disney to Step Up Safety Checks

Retailer Toys R Us is increasing the frequency of safety checks conducted on products sold in its stores after a slew of Chinese-made toys were recalled this summer due to unsafe levels of lead paint.

"Earlier this year we began spot checking of products on our store shelves as part of our increased efforts for quality assurance," said Toys "R" Us spokeswoman Kathleen Waugh.

"But in light of recent recalls," she said, "we have begun a systematic recheck of all products on our store shelves."

Lead paint has been linked to health problems, including brain damage, in children.

Earlier Monday, the New York Times reported that the toy retailer had hired engineers to regularly visit its stores to take branded toys to independent labs for testing.

Meanwhile, Walt Disneysaid it would begin random tests of toys, children's jewelry and infant products like baby bibs currently on store shelves within the next week or two.

"We're adding hopefully another level of assurance for parents when they buy a Disney product that it will be safe," Disney spokesman Gary Foster said. He added that the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the toys lies with licensees like Mattel .

Disney said it planned to inform Mattel and other toy companies of its intentions Monday.

The increased scrutiny comes after millions of toys made in China were recalled this summer, often due to excessive levels of lead paint.

Last week, Mattel said it would recall more than 800,000 toys globally that contained intolerably high levels of lead -- marking the third recall by the industry leader.

Retailers are taking action ahead of the critical holiday selling season, and last month, Wal-Mart Stores said it was asking suppliers to resubmit testing documentation for the toys it sells.

The world's largest retailer also said it had hired independent laboratories to conduct an average of 200 additional tests each day and was working to find new toys and manufacturers from all over the world to give parents greater choice.

Toys "R" Us is owned by a consortium that includes Bain Capital Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Vornado Realty Trust.