Think all toys on store shelves are safe? Unfortunately, it's not the case. You can find super magnets that make fun scrunching sounds, but are small enough for a young child to swallow and choke on; preschool model cell phones that create sounds loud enough to damage young ears; and a chrome plated Slinky Jr. that could poison a child sucking on it.
This list represents a small sampling of potentially dangerous or toxic toys in U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund's national report Trouble in Toyland 2015, presented at a press conference at Nemours Pediatrics/Thomas Jefferson University on Tuesday. PennPIRG, the local branch of the national public safety group, publishes the toy report every year. Brendan Boyle, a congressman from Philadelphia and Montgomery counties, and myself were featured speakers at the press conference.
Stephanie Monahon, the PennPIRG Director, spoke about concerns such as the confusing age limits on the toy packaging. She pointed out one toy had "Over 3" at the bottom and "Over 8 at the top". Here is a summary of the report's main findings:
Congressman Boyle said as a parent how important it was to get this information, especially since his 21-month-old daughter had one of the excessive noise toys at home. He praised PennPIRG for releasing this survey to the public.
I pointed out that not all things that children play with are toys and that consumer electronics we often give our small children to amuse themselves can have small parts and especially button batteries and these can be deadly if swallowed. I also said that I believed an informed consumer can buy more safely.
With these tips, PennRIRG advises us to have a safe holiday toy buying season by buying smartly. U.S. PIRG Education Fund's Toy Safety Tips are available at toysafetytips.org.