U.S. Public Interest Research Group, or U.S. PIRG, has issued its 34th annual Trouble in Toyland report and in it, they are warning parents to be alert when it comes to the toys their children play with.
The watchdog group says most dangers are recognizable if a parent takes a moment to look at what kids have access to.
Wooden vehicles and bath toys are among the toys that could pose a choking hazard, the group warned. To test if a toy could be a risk, a simple test, the group reminds, is to see if it passes through a toilet paper tube. If it does, then it could be a danger.
Balloons may bring a smile to children's faces, but they are dangerous. U.S. PIRG warns that uninflated balloons should not be within reach of a child younger than 8 and that the pieces of balloons left after they've popped should be cleaned up. Balloons are the primary cause of suffocation death in kids, the group claims.
Loud toys that make noise aren't only annoying for parents, they can damage a child's hearing. If it is too loud when held next to your ear, it's too loud for a child. Experts say to remove the batteries, put tape over the speaker to muffle the sound or decrease volume.
Magnets may help kids put together puzzles, but they can be swallowed. Doctors in one case pulled 54 small magnets from four children in one month, U.S. PIRG said.
There are toys on the market that may be desired by kids, but they're made for adults so they don't adhere to the same standards as those made for kids.
In addition to the obvious dangers, there could be hidden dangers lurking in toys. Some children's products contain lead, cadmium or boron that are usually found in cheaper, imported toys, U.S. PIRG said.
Boron was found in four slimes in amounts over what is permitted in the European Union. One, DIY 3 Pack of Rainbow Cosmic Slime Shakers, had 75 times the amount of boron allowed in the slime's mixing agent, U.S. Prig found.
And in an age when everything is connected to the web, you may want to check your child's toys that log on to the internet or make recordings. Some smart toys record what is said, have logins and keep a record of those files, leaving a gateway to hackers, U.S. Prig said.
Finally, you should always be aware of recalls that have been issued by checking recalls.gov.
The Toy Association has responded to the "Trouble in Toyland" report saying the group issues the report to "needlessly frighten parents with baseless claims."
The Toy Association says toys are "one of the safest consumer product categories" in homes and that the U.S. has more than 100 standards and tests that toys have to go through to make sure they are safe.
The group says that parents need to make sure they are buying from reputable stores and verified retailers online and be careful when shopping at flea markets, unverified sellers online and garage sales since the vendors may not monitor for recalled items or could be selling toys that do not comply with U.S. law.
To read the complete report, see below or click here.
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