Making Your List, Checking It Twice? Toy Safety Should Be Number One

By City News Service

With the holiday shopping season upon us, the California Public Interest Research Group’s Education Fund Tuesday released its annual Trouble in Toyland report, warning parents about the hazards of certain popular gifts, such as fidget spinners that contain high concentrations of lead.

“We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe,” said Emily Rusch, executive director of the CALPIRG Education Fund. “However, until that’s the case, toy buyers need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for children’s parents.”

When shopping for toys, experts warn parents to beware of possible safety and privacy concerns while shopping this holiday season. (EGP Archive Photo)

When shopping for toys, experts warn parents to beware of possible safety and privacy concerns this holiday season. (EGP Archive Photo)

The 32nd annual report contained some traditional warnings for parents, such as toys with small parts that children might accidentally swallow, and balloons that represent the biggest choking hazard for children than any other toy on the market.

Despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under the age of three, researchers said they found several toys that contain small parts without any warning label or misleading labels about the ages the toys were appropriate for, including a peg game, golf, and football travel games at the Dollar Tree.

The report also contains warnings about specific products. The popular fidget spinners were highlighted, with CALPIRG warning that it found two of the products at Target that had “dangerously high” levels of lead. The store announced earlier this month that it was pulling those models from its shelves, but the report recommends that parents double-check the product if they’ve already been purchased.

Despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under the age of three, the annual "Trouble In Toyland" found several toys that contain small parts without any warning label or misleading labels about the ages the toys were appropriate for at some discount retailers. (EGP Archive Photo)

Despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under the age of three, the annual “Trouble In Toyland” report found several toys that contain small parts without any warning label or misleading labels about the ages the toys were appropriate for at some discount retailers. (EGP Archive Photo)

Products like these are also often offered for sale on internet websites and at smaller, less-scrutinized retailers at seemingly bargain prices, but the dangers they pose could prove costly when it comes to health and safety.

CALPIRG also warned parents to check for products that have been recalled (www.recalls.gov) over the past year, such as self-balancing hoverboards that have been found to have faulty battery packs that can lead to fires.

iMy Friend Cayla images

A complaint filed by several consumer protection groups with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleges the My Friend Cayla doll and the i-Que “intelligent robot” violate consumer protection laws and “subject young children to ongoing surveillance.

The group also warned against so-called “data-collecting” toys that gather information about their users. The report highlighted the “My Friend Cayla” doll available at Walmart and Kohl’s, noting that the toy has been the subject of consumer complaints for alleged violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and is already banned in Germany. Ranging in price from $24 to $95 on Amazon and EBay, the doll comes with a microphone and its own app, and can transmit information and converse via Bluetooth with a third party software company using voice recognition technology.

A complaint filed by several consumer protection groups with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleges the dolls and the i-Que “intelligent robot” manufactured by Genesis Toys violate consumer protection laws and “subject young children to ongoing surveillance and are deployed in homes across the United States without any meaningful data protection standards,” a charge the manufacturer disputes.

“It’s important for us to look beyond what’s flashy and trendy when buying toys for children,” said Dr. Alan Nager, director of emergency and transport medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “We need to consider what’s safe. The majority of toy-related deaths continue to be choking on small toy parts, such as marbles, balloons and small balls. That said, there are active precautions we can take to avoid preventable, toy-related trips to the Emergency Department.”

“No child should ever be injured, get sick, or die from playing with a dangerous toy,” said Rusch. “Especially if a product is marketed to kids, it shouldn’t contain toxic chemicals like lead. It’s simple common sense.”

The full report is available at www.calpirgedfund.org. Parents can find our list of unsafe toys, as well as tips for safe toy shopping this holiday season, at www.toysafetytips.org.

EGP staff writers contributed to this story.

 

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November 22, 2017  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

Comments

One Response to “Making Your List, Checking It Twice? Toy Safety Should Be Number One”

  1. bigredboots on November 24th, 2017 2:22 pm

    I can not imagine letting my kid play with any electronics that have not been UL tested and certified. Most of these hoverboards that have been recalled have been cheap non certified boards.

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