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Annual Survey Sounds Warning on Unsafe, Hazardous Toys

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Dangerous Toys
Reed Saxon/APThis device, about 1 inch in diameter, demonstrates a small toy that is a choking hazard.
As families around the country gear up for the biggest toy-buying frenzy of the year, an annual review of toys by one of the nation's largest consumer advocacy groups found that dangerous toys remain easily available for purchase. But there are steps parents can follow to help ensure their children avoid some of the dangers. Some toys that raised concern feature popular characters, including

Disney's (DIS) Doc Mcstuffins (a figurine set in which the heads regularly break off) and Jake and the Neverland Pirates (a tambourine set with chromium). Others, like a toy sheriff's badge (made with lead) can be found at dollar stores.

"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.

Make It Safer for Your Kids

And the report noted, just this month, a huge recall of McDonald's (MCD) Hello Kitty Happy Meal toy sets was conducted because a piece of a whistle in the set can be swallowed by small children. But not every toy that poses a potential hazard is recalled.

The people who develop the survey each year have these safety recommendations:
  • Be sure the toys you buy are age-appropriate.
  • Beware of choking hazards, such as broken balloons, watch-sized batteries and small balls. As a guide, no toy part for a child 3 or younger should be able to fit in the opening of a toilet paper tube. Keep broken parts of toys or small pieces away from small children.
  • Don't allow children to play with toys that have magnets. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported incidents involving children, even older kids, who have swallowed strong magnets, causing severe damage to their gastrointestinal systems.
  • Avoid overly loud toys. "If it sounds too loud, it probably is."
  • Don't allow children to play with cords or strings that are more than a foot long.
  • Beware of toys with toxic chemicals. Healthystuff.org lists chemical content ratings for more than 5,000 products. Among the hazards the site tests for include BPA, lead and arsenic.
  • Check the CPSC for recall information, read incident reports filed by consumers and report product hazards you discover so that other consumers can read them.
24 Hazardous Toys

Toxic Hazards
  • Badge Playset
  • Dora the Explorer backpack
  • Leopard pattern rubber duck
  • Hello Kitty Bracelet and Hair Clips Accessory Set
Ingestion Hazards
  • Buckyballs: Illegal to sell in the U.S, but was available for purchase online; product has been recalled.
  • The Zen Magnets Mini Set: Manufacturing is fighting against a recall by the CPSC.
Choking Hazards
  • Mega Value Pack 16 Latex Punch Balloons
  • Rubber bouncy ball
  • Shopping Cart Playset
  • Cherubic Cetacean (toy has been recalled in Australia).
  • Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Figurine Playset.
  • Edushape 80 Pieces Textured Blocks
  • Favors Surprises (spiral drawing pieces)
  • Magic Towel (football shape)
  • Grow Metallix Mega Geo-Bot
  • Mix & Co. Headband
  • Our Generation: Sydney Lee and "Stars in Your Eyes"
  • Magic Towel (baseball shaped)
  • Grow Color Changers
  • Sonic Sound Sizzlers Noise Magnets

 

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