Dangerous Toys of 2012

If you have been wondering about the safety of children’s toys on the market this holiday season and whether certain toys are safer than others, there is an organization which has done some of the homework for you. The consumer watchdog, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), has examined the array of toys for sale this season, and is pleased to note that “toys today are safer than they’ve ever been before, [but] there are still dangerous and/or toxic toys on store shelves.” http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/most-dangerous-toys-2012-173200226.htm.

The group’s “Trouble in Toyland” report reviewed 200 toys purchased at toy retailers, such as Toys R Us and Target and dollar-type stores. The report issued shortly before Thanksgiving noted that there weren’t as many toxic toys on the shelves as expected. Nasima Hossain, a public health advocate with PIRG recommends parents still watch for common hazards in toys when toy shopping. Common hazards in toys can be:

  • Toys that contain sharps–anything that could cut, puncture or stick a child;
  • Toys with small detachable parts that could pose a choking hazard;
  • Toys that contain toxic chemicals, such as lead or phthalate levels higher than allowable limits;
  • Toys that require heat or electricity and could pose a fire/burn hazard;
  • Toys that explode or implode, or smoke–again, watch for a fire or inhalation hazards;
  • Toys that shoot projectiles, such as the “Dart Zone Quick Fire 12 dart gun” which was identified as having a potential to produce eye injuries;
  • Toys that could become unsafe for young children that might be safer for older children;
  • Toys that contain high-powered magnets, sold as “Bucky Balls” or toys that contain button batteries that can be swallowed;
  • Water absorbing toys that can expand if ingested, such as the Water Balz toys by Dunecraft (94,700 of these were recalled yesterday by the CPSC);
  • Toys or child furniture that are flimsy or that appear not to be well put-together (and may collapse on a child, such as the toy wooden puppet stages recalled during the year); and
  • Toys that are too loud and can be harmful to children’s ears because they exceed the current noise standards.

The PIRG identified specific toys as containing hazards, including the Dora Backpack, by Global Design Concepts Inc., for its apparently high phthalate levels, and the Dora Tunes Guitar for its excessive loudness. Another toy, “Snake Eggs” made by GreenBrier International Inc. was found to be an ingestion hazard, and the Morphbot toy, also by GreenBrier, was identified as having high lead levels. The “Just Like Home 120-piece Super Play Food Sets” sold by Toys R Us, were identified as containing choking hazards for small children, as were the “Pullback Dragster Cars by Z Wind Ups” found to have choking hazards and warning labels too small to be easily read.

ChildSafetyBlog.org wishes you a safe and healthy holiday season!

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