Thu November 22, 2012

Yearly Report: Toys Are Safer, But Parents Should Still Be Vigilant

As the holiday gift-buying season gets underway, a Colorado consumer group is reminding parents to watch out for unsafe toys.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group examined more than 200 toys, listing around a dozen in its yearly report that could be dangerous for children.

The group distinguished five key areas of concern:

  • Choking hazards
  • Toxic chemicals called pthalates
  • Lead
  • Excessively noisy toys
  • Dangerous magnetic toys

Those small but powerful magnets in some toys and jewelry are one of the biggest concerns the group identified this year. That's because, if swallowed, they can cling together inside a child’s body and cause serious injuries.

Danny Katz, director of COPirg in Colorado, says safety information is critical to avoid needless tragedies involving toys.

"Bottom line, we think that over the last couple of years the marketplace has become safer," says Katz. "That said, there are still hazards out there – but these are hazards that parents can avoid."

Katz adds that there's an easy and inexpensive way for parents to determine if small toys present a choking hazard. If an object fits inside the cardboard tube from an empty toilet paper roll, it's small enough for a child to accidentally swallow.

The 27th annual "Trouble in Toyland" survey on toy safety is here [.pdf].