LOS ANGELES (CNS) – With the holiday shopping season upon us, the California Public Interest Research Group’s Education Fund released its annual Trouble in Toyland report, warning parents about the hazards of certain popular gifts, such as fidget spinners that contain high concentrations of lead.
“We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe,” said Emily Rusch, executive director of the CALPIRG Education Fund. “However, until that’s the case, toy buyers need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for children’s parents.”
The 32nd annual report contained some traditional warnings for parents, such as toys with small parts that children might accidentally swallow, and balloons that represent the biggest choking hazard for children than any other toy on the market.
But the report also contains warnings about specific products. The popular fidget spinners were highlighted, with CALPIRG warning that it found two of the products at Target that had “dangerously high” levels of lead. The store announced earlier this month that it was pulling those models from its shelves, but the report recommends that parents double-check the product if they’ve already been purchased.
CALPIRG also warned parents to check for products that have been recalled over the past year, such as self-balancing hoverboards that have been found to have faulty battery packs that can lead to fires. The group also warned against so-called “data-collecting” toys that gather information about their users. The report highlighted the “My Friend Cayla” doll available at Walmart and Kohl’s, noting that the toy has been the subject of consumer complaints for alleged violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and is already banned in Germany.
“It’s important for us to look beyond what’s flashy and trendy when buying toys for children,” said Dr. Alan Nager, director of emergency and transport medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “We need to consider what’s safe. The majority of toy-related deaths continue to be choking on small toy parts, such as marbles, balloons and small balls. That said, there are active precautions we can take to avoid preventable, toy-related trips to the Emergency Department.”
The full report is available at www.calpirgedfund.org.