The holidays are upon us and this time of year means that the U. S. Public Interest Research Group has issued its latest list of dangerous and defective toys. U.S. PIRG has been compiling and publishing the list for almost 30 years, and it is an invaluable resource for parents and others interested in children’s safety. The survey, Trouble in Toyland, identifies a number of hazards that toy buyers should be aware of and avoid. In its news release, U.S. PIRG notes the following key findings of the survey:
- Toys with high levels of toxic substances are still on store shelves. We found toys containing phthalates well over legal limits, as well as toys with lead or chromium content above limits. For example, we found a toy tambourine with the heavy metal chromium at over nine times the legal limit of 60 ppm and several toys that violated phthalate limits.
- Despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under the age of three, we found toys available in stores that still pose choking hazards. For example, we found, both in a store and online, a set of foam blocks marked “2 and up” that included several blocks that were small parts.
- We also found toys that are potentially harmful to children’s ears and hearing. Although no toys violated current federal noise limits, we agree with hearing experts that those rules need to be strengthened.
- We continued to find small, powerful magnets that pose a dangerous threat to children if swallowed. For example, we continued to find two brands of small powerful magnet sets that have been recalled and are therefore illegal to be sold available online.
U.S. PIRG also, among other categories of recommendations, offers parents tips for shopping for toys that will not endanger their children:
- Shop with U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s Toy Safety Tips, available at toysafetytips.org.
- Examine toys carefully for hazards before purchase – and don’t trust that they are safe just because they are on a store shelf.
- Report unsafe toys or toy-related injuries to the CPSC at www.saferproducts.gov.
- Subscribe to government announcements of recalled products at www.recalls.gov.
- Remember, toys on our list are presented as examples only. Other hazards may exist.
‘Tis the season for toy buying and merriment for all, but it is also the season for “buyer beware.” This can’t be more emphasized than when it comes to buying for those unable to assess the safety of the toys given to them for themselves.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.