The Pennsylvania wing of the National Consumer Group is warning people to steer clear of certain toys when shopping for children this season.
The 33rd Annual “Trouble in Toyland” from the U.S. Public Research Interest Group and unveiled locally by PennPIRG looked at 40 toys this year. The consumer group said 15 of these toys have potential choking hazards and high concentrations of unsafe chemicals.
The report said, “With hundreds of new toys hitting the market every year, our survey of only 40 toys suggests there may be other potentially dangerous toys slipping through existing protections or worthy of further investigation.”
The report found six slime products that contained high levels of the chemical boron, which can be hazardous if swallowed. Boron concentrations as high as 4,700 ppm were found in Kangaroos Original Super Cool Slime, and Kidsco Glow in The Dark Slime had boron concentrations as high as 4,600 ppm.
Other toys in the report include Hatchimals and L.O.L. Surprise toys, which contain small parts that are a choking hazard for young children. Balloons are also choking hazards and should not be given to children under eight.
PennPIRG said that any part of a toy that can slip through a toilet paper roll is a choking hazard for children younger than three.
Small, powerful magnets can cause serious intestinal damage if swallowed, and the Haktoys Bump & Go Action F-182 Fighter Jet produced continuous sound in excess of 85 decibels in repeated tests, the report states.
The group also warned that so-called “connected toys” may disclose private data and even violate children’s privacy laws.
Parents should be aware of new toys that contain hazards, but they should also be aware of recalled toys that are already in their houses, the report said. More than 40 toys have been recalled this year.
The Toy Association responded in a statement, which follows:
“U.S. PIRG calls their annual report “Trouble in Toyland” – but their report doesn’t indicate any trouble at all. In fact, many of the items previously recalled (thanks to ongoing regulatory vigilance) and named by the group are NOT toys (e.g. children’s furniture, balloons, and other accessories, etc.). The inclusion of these products in a supposed “toy” safety report is deliberately misleading and frightening to parents and undermines the toy industry’s deep and ongoing commitment to ensuring that toys are safe.
What PIRG doesn’t tell you (because it would not grab headlines) is that toys are among the safest consumer product categories found in the home. U.S. toy safety requirements are among the strictest in the world, with more than 100+ standards and tests in place to ensure that all toys found on store shelves are safe. All toys sold in the U.S., regardless of where they are produced, must be tested and certified compliant before reaching store shelves or consumers.
Parents and caregivers should always shop at reputable stores and online retailers that they know and trust, and exercise caution when buying toys at flea markets, garage sales, second-hand / thrift stores, etc., as these vendors may not be monitoring for recalled products. Families are also encouraged to stay up-to-date on toy recalls ensuring that all recalled products are kept out of their homes – and out of children’s hands.
Safety is the toy industry’s top priority every day of the year, not only during the holidays. For information on recalls, toy safety, and ways to ensure safe play, families are invited to visit www.PlaySafe.org, The Toy Association’s safety resource for parents and caregivers.”