When parents hit the stores to get their Christmas shopping done they need to think about safety first.
Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) is releasing their 17th annual Troubled Toys list. These toys can be too loud for kids or pose a choking hazard for young kids.
WISPIRG recommends parents not give young kids balloons or small toys.
The list of toys is available on the Web at www.toysafety.net
wsaw.com: Extended Web Coverage
Trouble in Toyland
- The 2002 Trouble in Toyland report is the seventeenth annual Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) toy safety survey.
- PIRG uses its survey to educate parents and the general public about toy hazards.
- The reports have led to more than 100 enforcement actions by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and toy manufacturers since 1986.
- This report focuses on three main hazards associated with toys: choking, phthalates, and noise.
- Choking is the leading cause of toy deaths.
- The 2002 survey found that many toys that pose choking hazards are still manufactured and sold, despite implementation of the 1994 Child Safety Protection Act (CSPA), publicity from PIRG and other groups, and intensified efforts by the CPSC and the U.S. Customs Service.
- This year, PIRG researchers found numerous toys that pose choking hazards, such as toys with small parts, balloons and small balls sold without choke hazard labels in bins and vending machines.
- Phthalates are chemicals used in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic to make it soft and pliable, they are also human carcinogens and are known to cause chronic health problems, including liver and kidney abnormalities.
- PIRG researchers were able to find a number of soft vinyl toys containing phthalates during this year's toy survey.
- PIRG also examined the risk of dangerously loud toys. Children can suffer hearing loss from repeated exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels, about the same as a noisy restaurant or heavy traffic.
- PIRG researchers found 10 toys that produce sounds louder than 95 decibels.
- PIRG conducted our second survey of online toy retailers. Our findings were similar to those of last year; virtually no online retailer posts the statutory choke hazard warnings, which are mandatory for toys sold in stores, on their Web sites.
- Less than half of the Web sites surveyed included the manufacturer's age recommendation for a given toy.
To Consumers and Parents:
Be vigilant this holiday season and remember:
- The CPSC does not test all toys.
- Not all toys available meet CPSC regulations.
- Toys that meet all CPSC regulations may still pose hazards, ranging from choking and hearing loss to chemical exposure.
- Online toy retailers do not provide the same safety warnings that are legally required on the packaging of toys sold in stores.
To Toy Manufacturers:
- Aim for 100 percent compliance with toy regulations.
- Eliminate phthalates from toys intended for children under five years old, or at a minimum eliminate phthalates from toys intended for children under three, as some companies have already done. Disclose the use of phthalates and other chemicals in toys intended for older children.
- Reexamine the parameters with which toys are judged for age appropriateness.
- Use statutory choke hazard warnings on retail toy Web sites.
- Put manufacturer identification on toys, not just packaging.
- Do not make toys that produce sounds louder than 85 decibels.
To Toy Stores:
- Clearly label bins containing small toys, or the toys within the bins, with appropriate warnings.
- Consider the height of bins containing toys with small parts. Make sure they are high enough that children under three cannot reach them.
- Make sure all balloons are packaged with a CSPA warning requirement. Never place loose balloons in bins. Do not sell balloons aimed at an age-inappropriate audience.
- Display mandatory CSPA hazard warnings on Web sites.
The government's list of children's products recalled in 2002 includes:
- About 280,000 toy sponges and about 310,000 stuffed polyester pool animals, recalled by Dollar Tree Stores Inc. of Chesapeake, Va., because they could pose a choking hazard.
- About 140,000 air-powered toy rockets recalled by Estes Industries, of Penrose, Colo., because defective parts can break off and cause eye and hand injuries.
- About 188,000 cotton candy machines for children recalled by Rose Art Industries Inc. of Livingston, N.J., because the machines' motors can jam and overheat to pose a fire hazard.
- About 152,000 toy tracks attached to children's activity centers recalled by Graco Children's Products Inc., of Elverson, Pa., because the tracks can break into pieces that risk choking and injuring young children.
You can check the US PIRG for the complete listing of potentially hazardous toys
Sources: http://www.uspirg.org (The United States Public Interest Research Group Web site) and the Associated Press contributed to this report