Have You Just Bought Some of These Dangerous Toys?

Dangerous Toys
Reed Saxon/APThis device, about 1 inch in diameter, demonstrates a small toy that is a choking hazard.

In the midst of the annual holiday toy-buying frenzy, one of the nation's largest consumer advocacy groups identified two dozen toys it found for sale that could be dangerous, including some featuring popular characters.

In a report released on Monday, U.S. PIRG in its 29th annual "Trouble in Toyland" survey named 24 toys that appear pose danger to children and noted that those are just the ones they came across, and there might be more.

%VIRTUAL-pullquote-Despite consumer protection laws, companies continue to produce and import toys that potentially present a hazard for children.%"We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe" said Sujatha Jahagirdar, U.S. PIRG Public Health Campaign director. "However, until that's the case, parents need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys."

Among the worrisome toys found include: Disney's (DIS) Doc Mcstuffins (a figurine set in which the heads regularly break off) and Jake and the Neverland Pirates (a tambourine set with chromium). Others, like a toy sheriff's badge (made with lead) can be found at dollar stores.

"Despite consumer protection laws, companies continue to produce and import toys that potentially present a hazard for children, putting them at risk of injury or even death," the report said.

The Toy Industry Association took issue with the report and the organization's methods.

"Independent monitoring and analysis by outside parties can help improve toy safety standards if these activities are carried out in a responsible manner, but groups like PIRG – who consistently disseminate incorrect and misleading information about the safety of toys – are not serving the interests and well-being of children and their families," association President and CEO Carter Keithley said in a statement. "Toys that do not present any safety hazard to children, and that provide fun and developmental value, are wrongly maligned by these spurious reports, making parents unnecessarily fearful and depriving children of the joy these toys can offer."

The Toy Industry Association noted that the toys highlighted by the group had not been recalled and neither had those named in prior reports.

Make It Safer for Your Kids

Despite that, the PIRG report noted that just last month a huge recall of McDonald's (MCD) Hello Kitty Happy Meal toy sets was conducted because a piece of a whistle in the set can be swallowed by small children. But not every toy that poses a potential hazard is recalled.

The people who develop the survey each year have these safety recommendations:

  • Be sure the toys you buy are age-appropriate.
  • Beware of choking hazards, such as broken balloons, watch-sized batteries and small balls. As a guide, no toy part for a child 3 or younger should be able to fit in the opening of a toilet paper tube. Keep broken parts of toys or small pieces away from small children.
  • Don't allow children to play with toys that have magnets. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported incidents involving children, even older kids, who have swallowed strong magnets, causing severe damage to their gastrointestinal systems.
  • Avoid overly loud toys. "If it sounds too loud, it probably is."
  • Don't allow children to play with cords or strings that are more than a foot long.
  • Beware of toys with toxic chemicals. Healthystuff.org lists chemical content ratings for more than 5,000 products. Among the hazards the site tests for include BPA, lead and arsenic.
  • Check the CPSC for recall information, read incident reports filed by consumers and report product hazards you discover so that other consumers can read them.
The 24 Hazardous Toys

Toxic Hazards
  • Badge playset.
  • Dora the Explorer backpack.
  • Hello Kitty bracelet and hair clips accessory set.
  • Jake and the Neverland Pirates tambourine.
  • Leopard pattern rubber duck.
Ingestion Hazards
  • Buckyballs: Illegal to sell in the U.S, but was available for purchase online. Product has been recalled.
  • Sonic Sound Sizzlers noise magnets.
  • Zen Magnets mini set: Manufacturing is fighting against a recall by the CPSC.
Choking Hazards
  • Cherubic Cetacean (toy has been recalled in Australia).
  • Disney Junior Doc McStuffins figurine playset.
  • Disney Piglet figurine.
  • Edushape 80-pieces textured blocks.
  • Favors Surprises (spiral drawing pieces).
  • Grow Color Changers.
  • Grow Metallix Mega Gro-Bot.
  • Magic Towel (baseball shape).
  • Magic Towel (football shape).
  • Mega value pack 16 latex punch balloons.
  • Mix & Co. headband.
  • Our Generation: Sydney Lee and "Stars in Your Eyes."
  • Princess party favors surprises.
  • Rubber bouncy ball.
  • Shopping cart playset.
  • Wind-up Fun (a fish).
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