When shopping for Christmas gifts for your children this holiday season, you probably assume the toys sitting on store shelves are safe. But, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, that’s not always the case.
U.S. PIRG just released its annual “Trouble in Toyland” report, which highlights 24 toys that it has deemed dangerous for children based on chemical toxicity, choking hazards or powerful magnets that can cause serious injury if swallowed.
“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 toys detailed in the report include dolls, a backpack, hair accessories, mini magnets, and even a rubber duck. Sujatha Jahagirdar, U.S. PIRG public health campaign director, said in a statement:
We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. However, until that’s the case, parents need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys.
Not all toys on store shelves are tested for safety, although such chains as Toys R Us and Target do their own toy testing, according to KRQE News. That’s why U.S. PIRG conducts its own series of tests.
“We go into dollar stores, we go into big chain retailers like Walmart or Kmart, and we go online, and we find toys that are either mislabeled for young children that shouldn’t be, that contain over the allowable limits of lead or phthalates and that are noise hazards or contain powerful magnets, so they really can be found anywhere,” New Mexico PIRG campaign organizer Jacob Peters told KRQE.
Click here for U.S. PIRG’s complete list of unsafe toys for 2014, as well as tips for safe-toy shopping.
In other toy news, a new study published in Clinical Pediatrics blames one popular toy in particular for a 40 percent increase in toy-related injury rates between 1990 and 2011. According to USA Today, “kick” scooters and other ride-on toys are largely responsible for the surge in child injuries.
Parents can help keep their kids safe by requiring that they wear a helmet and other protective gear, including elbow and knee pads, while riding a scooter.
I do try to gauge the safety of a toy before I buy it for my children. I follow the age requirements and check for small pieces. But I’ve also wrongly assumed that toys on store shelves don’t contain toxic chemicals like lead. Yikes.
How careful are you when you shop for toys? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.