On November 22, 2016, the United State’s Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) released its annual Trouble In Toyland report for hazards in children’s toys and recalled children’s items.
The report covered everything from the different types of hazards present in children’s products, to which products were recalled and may still be available for purchase online, as well as what parents can do about it. Toys have been recalled for reasons ranging from high levels of lead, to choking hazards, to combusting batteries, and even small magnets that, when swallowed, pose a severe risk of damaging intestines that would require invasive surgery and, in some cases, even death. PIRG has taken actions to prevent any and every sale of these recalled items, though they still need your (the consumers) help to ensure that none of these products pose a threat to any child.
Some alarming highlights from the report include:
“In 2014 alone, there were 251,800 toy-related injuries treated in emergency rooms.”
“Over 40 recalls were issued of toys and children’s products since January, 2015, totaling over 35 million units. Over a dozen recalled toys still appeared to be available for sale.”
“Choking on small parts, small balls, and balloons remains a leading cause of toy-related deaths and injuries. Some toys can pose hidden hazards, exposing children to dangerous chemicals that are linked to serious health problems.”
“Between January 2015 to October 2016, the CPSC recalled 11 toys for violations of the CSPIA toxic heavy metal lead standard.”3
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes clear that any amount of lead in a child’s blood is unsafe.6 Moreover, since the effects of lead exposure cannot be reversed, it is especially important to prevent lead exposure to children in the first place. Unfortunately, toys can pose a risk in part because lead is used in other countries and can be found in imported products.”7
“Additionally, lead may be incorporated into plastic.8…Children can inhale or come in contact with lead dust [in the air from light and air breaking down the chemicals in the plastic] when they put toys in or near their mouths.”9
“The [Federal Standards For Lead .. in manufactured children’s products are slightly more than double the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for children’s products. (Despite the fact though, that there really is no acceptable level for lead at all.)
“Balloons pose the most serious choking hazard to children in the United States. They are responsible for more childhood deaths by suffocation than any other product.”
“Between 2001 and 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, approximately 38 percent of all toy-related choking fatalities reported to the CPSC involved balloons.”34
“Between 2009 and 2013, the CPSC estimates that highpowered magnets caused approximately 2,900 emergency room-treated injuries. 41…Nearly 80 percent of high-powered magnet ingestions require invasive medical intervention, either through an endoscopy, surgery, or both.”
“In the United States, burns and fires are leading causes for unintentional deaths and injuries to children.51 From January 2015 to October 2016, the CPSC recalled four toys due to overheating which can lead to fire and burn hazards.”52
Perhaps the most alarming news of all is that most product recalls don’t even reach the majority of consumers. That means that a recalled toy or children’s item could still be in your home, unbeknownst to you.
So now that the Christmas shopping season is in full swing, what can parents do?
- Review the full list of recalled toys on PIRG’s website and see if you have any of these toys in your home. If you find that you do have a recalled toy or children’s item, follow the instructions PIRG instructs for that particular toy.
- If you see a recalled toy for sale online, or need to report a toy-related injury, report it to Safeproducts.gov.
- Carefully examine and assess any toys or children’s products before making a purchase. Remember that the list of recalled children’s items and toys are from January 2015 – October 2016; there may still be other hazards on the shelves that have gone undetected. If you think you found one that may be hazardous, again report it to Safeproducts.gov.
- Go through any toys or products your children have, searching for possible hazards, especially those mentioned in the report. Take inventory of toys now before presents are opened, and make sure to go through any new toys and presents that are received this holiday season.
- Subscribe to any government agencies that will notify you of product recalls so you can stay up to date. Make sure you send your information in to any companies that allow you to do so to be notified of any recalls they may issue customers.
- Sign the petition to remind the CPSC to take action against retailers selling recalled children’s toys and items. Sign the petition now!
Want to know more about the hazards in children’s toys and find out the exact items that were recalled? Read the full report here.
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