The 28th Annual “Trouble in Toyland” report has revealed that there are still toys on our shelves that may be hazardous to our children.
The report is put out each year by U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG). The consumer watchdog tests toys for lead, cadmium and phthalates, materials which have been known to interfere with the development of young children.
They also tested toys to see if they pose a choking hazard, may damage a child’s hearing or may have magnetic parts that may pose serious injury risks.
“Kids spend so much time playing and toys are such a vital part of a child’s development. It’s important that parents buy toys that are age-appropriate and, above all, safe for children,” says Cathy Hogan, director of Safe Kids St. Louis at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. “In addition to reading warning labels, parents should do their best to stay well-informed on any recalls or consumer reviews that may draw attention to dangerous or mislabeled toys.
This year in particular, the group found that despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under three, many its tested still had parts that posed choking hazards.
A choking hazard was determined by seeing if the toy or a removable piece of the toy could fit down a tube that was the approximate size of a fully-expanded throat of a child under 3. Special attention was paid to toys that looked like food, because children may be more likely to try and eat them.
The report also says toys with high levels of toxic substances are still on store shelves. Several toys were found with high lead levels, one of them 29 times the legal limit.
“The hardest part is that these situations are nearly completely preventable,” says Hogan. “If proper labeling and manufacturing techniques were used for every toy, from the most expensive and ornate toys down to the most economical or simple toys, we would be in the clear. Unfortunately we’re not. It unfortunately falls to parents to check every toy, every time.”