2018 Trouble in Toyland
November 21st, 2018
The holiday season and toys go hand-in-hand. With so many toys available, and so many places to purchase them, we want to make sure that we are buying toys that are not only the most desirable, but the most safe.
The US PIRG Education Fund once again has conducted its annual survey of toy safety. For 33 years they have helped keep our kids safe by finding toys that might contain small pieces, magnets, paint that chips and peels, and battery overheatings that can cause harm. These reports have led to more than 150 recalls and other regulatory actions over the years, and have helped educate the public and policymakers on the need for continued action to help protect our kids. We have learned that just because a toy is for sale on a shelf, or on the internet, does not mean that it is safe for play. Among the toys surveyed this year, the US PIRG found potential choking hazards, and two products with concentrations of lead exceeding federal standards. They also found data-collecting toys that may violate children’s privacy laws. The report not only lists the potentially dangerous toys that were found this year, but also describes why and how the toys could harm children.
There are a few steps you can take to make your holiday shopping easier, and make kids play a little safer:
Prior to shopping, review the 33rd annual survey of toy safety, Trouble in Toyland, at HKQKids.org.
- Sign up for recall notices at www.recalls.gov.
- Check out the HKQKids website and Facebook page for additional recalls, and sites like toysafetytips.org.
- Examine toys before you purchase them.
- Go through your kids’ toy boxes and compare them to the items in the Trouble in Toyland report.
- Continually check for small parts and small broken parts.
- Be cautious of toys that collect data.
- Make sure you are buying age-appropriate toys, and that toys for older kids are kept out of the hands of little ones.
- Beware of previously recalled toys. And while it is illegal to sell previously recalled toys, they MAY still be available on the internet!
- Small yet very powerful rare earth magnets can pose serious health injuries. Be very cautious. Although these magnets have been banned as of 2014, you may still find toys that contain these dangerous magnets.
- Some toys can pose hidden hazards, such as exposure to toxic chemicals, such as lead.
In a one-year period, there were over 250,000 Emergency Room visits that were toy related, and several toy related deaths. Improvements have been made in the recall process, yet making consumers aware of the recalls is still a challenge. We encourage you to be proactive and to carefully review the Trouble in Toyland report on our HKQKids.org website, share it with others, and check our Facebook page and website for recalls as often as possible. Keeping your kids safe is your number 1 priority, and it’s our mission. Go to HKQKids.org, or find us on Facebook.