Group Releases "2012 Dangerous Toys" in Time for Black Friday

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BOSTON - Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) released its 2012 report "Troubled in Toyland" just in time for Black Friday shoppers. The report details dangerous toys including choking hazards, toxic toys, magnet hazards, lead and noise hazards among the dangers.

The report lists toys that could cause choking because of unlabeled small parts or toys categorized in the wrong age group. These include:

  • "Dragster" cars by Z Windups
  • "Bowling Game" by Cool Novelty Products, Inc.
  • "Ball on a stick launcher" by R T Toy
  • "Play Food" by WalMart
  • "Golfing game" by Aoxing Toys

According to the research director, the best way to test if a toy is a choking hazard for a three year old is to see if it fits through a toilet paper roll. According to the research, between 1990 and 2011, more than 200 children died from choking incidents.

PIRG also listed toxic toys, including a "Dora the Explorer" backpack by Global Design Concepts, Inc. because of high levels of phthalates, and "Morphobot" by GreenBrier International, Inc. was cited because of high levels of lead. PIRG notes, "Exposure to lead can affect almost every organ and system in the human body, especially the central nervous system. Lead is especially toxic to the brains of young children and can cause permanent mental and developmental impairments; it has no business being in children's products."

Magnet hazards were also a concern because, "If one magnet is in the stomach and another is in the small intestine, for example, they can cling together and quickly work their way through tissue, perforating the wall or creating a hole. Two or more magnets attracted to each other in the intestine can create a bowel obstruction or perforation." Snake Eggs by GreenBrier International, Inc. was cited for dangerous magnets.

Toys were also cited for noise hazards, meaning some toys test at higher decibel levels than recommended by hearing experts. These include the "Dora Tunes Guitar" by Fisher-Price,
"Honk and Rumble Wheel" by Toy State, and "FunKeys Car Keys" by Maison Joseph Battat Ltd.

KOMU 8 News spoke with a local daycare provider about dangerous toys and her habits regarding the selection of toys at the Child Learning and Development Center in Columbia.

"We look for safety. We don't want any sharp edges, any small pieces that detach themselves from the main part of it," Director Rachel Hutson said. "We look for durability, we look for paint that is part of the plastic, not something that can remove itself."

Hutson said the Child Learning and Development Center gets the majority of its toys from catalogs, discount school supply or oriental trading and says the safety of the children is the most important focus for the company.

The report warns shoppers to be vigilant this holiday season while shopping for children's toys. For more tips, check out the Toy Safety website.