Be Careful When Shopping for Toys This Holiday Season

beware-of-dangerous-toys-holiday-shoppersConsumer experts warn shoppers to be aware this holiday season of dangerous toys that are still on store shelves and which are putting children at risk of injury.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) found that hazardous toys are in stores of all sizes, from dollar stores to big box stores such as Toys “R” Us, according to NBC Washington. For example, one very dangerous toy found on store shelves, the Captain America Soft Shield, contains 29 times the federally allowed federal standard of lead.

U.S. PIRG’s report also discussed toys manufactured with small parts that present choking hazards and toys that contain high toxin levels. According to ABC Local (KABC). U.S. PRIG and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles are both reminding holiday shoppers about potentially deadly and dangerous toys.

“At Children’s Hospital, we see about 72,000 visits per year, many of them due to casual behaviors where adults put children at risk by having them play with types of toys that we see here, that are choking hazards, that are swallowing hazards, et cetera,” Dr. Jeffrey Upperman, a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, told ABC.

Consumers are advised that, when shopping for toys, particularly for children who are under the age of three, to be aware of what the toys are made of, such as lead. “We recommend that if parents are buying a toy for a toddler, they err towards cloth or wood toys, because we know toddlers like to put everything in their mouth,” U.S. PRIG’s, Austin Price, told ABC.

“Parents should pay particular attention to ball-shaped toys, since they are more likely to block the breathing passage. And then also toys that are meant to look like food,” said Price. “Obviously, if they look like food it’s more likely that a child will put it in their mouth.” ABC notes that parents should be aware of the so-called “tube test. If any part of the toy, or the toy itself, may fit in a toilet paper roll, then it is too small and poses a danger to children.

Parents are also warned to be aware of toys with magnets, which, if swallowed, can find each other inside children’s bodies, causing very serious organ damage. Also toys that make noise may damage children’s delicate ears, ABC wrote. Shoppers should also teach their children about safety tips, especially if there are younger siblings; when buying gifts, consider all of the children in the home.

“(The Toy Industry Association) works year-round to ensure that U.S. toy safety standards remain the most protective in the world,” the TIA wrote in a statement. Meanwhile, the 2013 U.S. PRIG Trouble in Toyland report, its 28th annual survey of toy safety was just released and provides consumer guidelines and examples of toys that may be fond on store shelves that pose potential safety standards, U.S. PRIG  wrote, noting that its reports have led to more than 150 recalls and regulatory actions. Dangerous toys include those products that may lead to acute injuries, including choking, strangulation, toxin, and laceration hazards.

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