Child playing with toys


Hazardous toys still available in stores

On Tuesday of this week, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) released its 24th annual “Troubles in Toyland Report” stating that stores across America still carry toys that are hazardous for children.

The prime offenders mentioned in the report are toys with small parts that are choking hazards for young children, toys that are excessively loud, toys with lead paint, and soft plastic toys that may contain toxins called phthalates.

Choking is the leading cause of toy-related injuries and deaths.  Balls, marbles, coins, game pieces or small parts should exceed 1.75” in diameter to be safe for young children.  Some products barely clear this standard and parents should exercise caution when selecting toys.  Measuring devices called “choke tubes” are available, but a handy substitute is a standard toilet paper core.  If the object passes easily through the core, it is not safe for children under three.

Other guidelines to keep in mind when purchasing toys are:

  • Avoid toys with long cords or strings
  • Stay away from excessively noisy toys that can damage sensitive ears
  • Make sure fabric toys are flame retardant or flame resistant
  • Stuffed toys should be washable
  • Look for sturdy toys and make sure decorations such as eyes, noses or buttons are firmly attached
  • Stay away from brittle, thin plastics that can splinter into sharp pieces

Art supplies should be lead free. (Products marked “ASTM D-4236” have been evaluated by the American Society of Testing and Materials.)

The PIRG has set up two sites that parents can consult:

U.S. Public Interest Research Group Toy Safety Web page

And for shoppers with smart mobile phones:

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