PHILADELPHIA— Consumer watchdog group PennPIRG released its annual Trouble in Toyland report to help shoppers avoid dangerous toys for the holiday shopping season.
Over the last year, Ubbi connecting bath toys, in addition to thousands of wooden vehicles sold by Target, were recalled as choking hazards. A tip to combat that issue is an easy one.
“All you have to do is take a toilet paper roll. If the toy fits inside here, it is not safe for a small child. The smaller the child, the higher the risk of choking to death,” said Amy Bollinger, of Penn State Children’s Hospital.
Frequent choking hazard culprits are sculpture kits and puzzles which may include powerful magnets. Two doctors in Oregon reported removing 54 small magnets from four children in just over a month.
“[Magnets] will get into pieces of your bowel and come together, and when that happens, the blood supply to that organ is shut off,” Bollinger said.
Some toys can cause hearing damage. Audio tests found that HackToy’s police car violated the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s standards.
“If it’s too loud for you, then it’s definitely too loud for your child and can damage their developing hearing,” PennPIRG staffer Emma Horst-Martz said.
Parents should additionally be on the lookout for hidden toxins in toys. Tests revealed levels of borax in four types of slime, which can cause nausea and vomiting.
Another tip: even though a toy is on shelves, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is faulty free. Innocheer’s Kids Musical Instrument Set and VTECH’s Musical Elephant Shaker were recalled more than a year ago but can still be purchased.
The Toy Association in a statement said, “U.S. toy safety requirements include more than 100 standards and tests to ensure that toys are safe.”
The list of potentially dangerous toys can be found here.