The holidays are quickly approaching, which means thousands of new toys will be given as gifts. Amidst the holiday cheer, it is important to remember the potential dangers that toys can pose. Today, KID joined Illinois PIRG along with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, and Dr. Elizabeth Powell at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago as PIRG released their annual Trouble in Toyland report, which highlights some common hazards found in toys.
Parents and gift-givers can use a simple at-home test for choking hazards. If a toy or part of a toy fits inside a standard toilet paper roll, it is not suitable for children under three. Balloons remain a hazard to children. Uninflated balloons should be kept away from children under eight, and broken balloons should be immediately thrown away.
Loud toys are another potential hazard that gift givers should watch out for. These toys can damage a child’s hearing, and if a toy sounds too loud near your head, it is too loud for a child to use. PIRG’s audio testing discovered two toys that likely violate standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: Haktoys’ ATS Battery Operated Bump & Go Action 8” Police Car and the Kicko Toy Gun Blue Light-Up Noise Blaster.
The new PIRG report also highlights hidden hazards – toxic chemicals such as lead, boron, and cadmium. PIRG’s testing found extremely high levels of boron in the DIY 3-Pack of Rainbow Cosmic Slime Shakers. Ingesting moderate to high doses of boron can cause nausea, vomiting, and other long-term damages.
An emerging hazard in toys are cybersecurity hazards. “Smart toys” can record children’s voices and keep histories of data, which can be accessed by hackers. Pay attention to privacy settings for these toys and use them on secure networks or offline.
New toys aren’t the only dangerous toys. PIRG’s report reminds parents of the dangers of purchasing pre-owned toys. PIRG researchers found recalled toys still available for sale online. Check to see if a toy has been recalled before purchasing it second-hand, or re-gifting a present. Report unsafe products at SaferProducts.gov.
We hope you and your families have a wondering holiday season.