There are many factors to consider when purchasing children's toys, but many may think that any possible danger is listed as a warning on the label, or that a toy that is listed for a certain age group is safe for kids that age.
The United States Public Interest Research Group--USPIRG--Education Fund released its 30th annual "Trouble in Toyland" report surveying the safety of popular toys.
Toys that were found to be dangerous fell into several categories: high counts of toxic metals, small parts and/or balls, balloons, magnets, excessive noise and lead.
Some of those may seem obvious, but others less so. Very noisy toys can cause hearing loss in young children, whose ears aren't as developed as adults, especially because young kids are more likely to play with the toy very close to their heads. Balloons, meanwhile, are often listed as safe for young kids, but are easy to swallow and chock on. Also, magnets can be dangerous, especially if swallowed, because the force can cause serious and even fatal health conditions.
The specific toxic metals that were called out in the report were phthalates and chromium, which is known to impair children's reproductive and developmental growth.
FOX 61 spoke with Evan Preston, who works with the Connecticut branch of PIRG's Education Fund, about the dangers.
The report singled out several toys as specifically dangerous in each category.
Specific toys listed for high counts of chromium:
- Minions locking pencil case, Target
- Slinky, Jr., Target
- Magnetic numbers, Dollar Tree
Specific toys with high counts of phthalates:
- Fan bubbles jump rope, Dollar Tree
Specific toys with small pieces that can cause choking hazards:
- Fairy wand, Dollar Tree
- Disney Pixar "Finding Nemo" Dory figurine, Five Below
- G2 Air mini football, Five Below
- Disney Pixar riplash racers, Marshalls
- Disney "Planes," Marshalls
- Nickelodeon mermaid Dora, Target
Specific toys with magnets and small parts:
- Sonic sound sizzlers noise magnets, Family Dollar
- Singing magnets, Dollar Tree
Specific toys with small balls/balloons that can cause choking hazards:
- Magic towel (in both football and baseball shapes), Dollar Tree
- Mega value pack 16 latex punch and pack 12 water bomb balloons, Party City
- Balloon animal kit, Party City
Specific toys that are excessively noisy:
- Vtech smart wheels, Vtech smart animals, Target
- Vtech spin and learn color flashlight, Target
- Fisher Price click 'n learn remote, Target
- Leap Frog fridge phonics, Target