9 On Your Side Consumer Watch
What's lurking in your child's toys?
Report finds dangerous toys still stocked on shelves
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – With Black Friday comes the start of Christmas shopping – and for kids, a lot of toys. However, a recent report titled “Trouble in Toyland” found that just because a retailer is stocking a toy doesn’t mean it’s safe for your children.
Lab testing by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, a research organization, shows that some toys on shelves have both lead and phthalates, both of which have been linked to negative health effects. Others toys pose choking or noise hazards.
“Not every toy that makes it to the store shelves has been inspected,” said Diane Brown, the Executive Director, adding that parents need to check carefully the toys that they purchase, because the Consumer Product Safety Commission doesn’t test all the toys on the shelves.
Books can be harmful even though parents don’t always consider them toys; some have more lead than the legal limit.
“When you think about a young child who tends to put everything in their mouth, they’re going to put a book in their mouth at some point in time,” Brown said.
Brown advised parents to avoid small toys or toy parts that children can choke on. A good rule of thumb is to use a toilet paper roll for ruling out what is too dangerous.
“If the toy fits within the diameter of [a toilet paper roll], then it’s probably too small for a child under the age of 3,” Brown said.
Also, parents need to watch out for toys that are too loud for their children. Arizona PIRG Education Fund found some that far exceed the hearing standards recommended by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
“One in five children across the country by the time they are 12 years old have some type of hearing loss,” Brown said.
Furthermore, parents need to check the materials from which toys are made. Arizona PIRG Education Fund found toys containing levels of phthalates – a chemical that poses development hazards for small children – at 40 and 70 times allowable limits. In addition, several toys surpassed current allowable lead limits.
While 80 percent of toys are from overseas, Brown said those made domestically aren’t always safer.
Between 1990 and 2009, more than 200 children across the country have died from toy hazards.