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2013 list of dangerous toys sends warning to parents this Christmas

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  • Consumer safety group the U.S. Public Interest Research Group has issued its annual Trouble In Toyland report
  • It warns that there are products currently for sale at major retailers which are potentially dangerous to children
  • These include a Captain America Soft Shield which includes lead and a Lil' Pal Phone which to too loud for young ears
  • The Toy Industry Association has been quick to issue a statement saying that it disagrees with the report's findings

By David Mccormack and Associated Press Reporter

PUBLISHED: 20:28 EST, 26 November 2013 | UPDATED: 04:47 EST, 27 November 2013



Parents have been warned to be on their guard this holiday season against a raft of hazardous toys which consumer advocates warn can be dangerous to children.

Several toys with high lead levels or toys that can cause young children to choke were found at major retailers and discount stores in the last few months, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) said on Tuesday.

The consumer safety group analyzed 50 toys for its annual report and reported issues with some 20 products, including a Captain America toy shield and play jewelry.


The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) released its 28th annual Trouble in Toyland report and list of dangerous toys to avoid this holiday season at a press conference in Washington DC lead by Jenny Levin, left, and consumer associate Laura Murray

PIRG said the Captain America Soft Shield purchased at Toys-R-Us had 29 times the legal limit of lead. A package of toy jewelry rings from Dollar General tested positive for lead twice the legal limit, said the report.

Small parts that could pose a choking risk were found in six toys that the group said did not carry the necessary warning labels for children.

PIRG had tested these using a special ‘choke tube,’ a plastic cylinder that at 2.25 inches long and 1.25 inches wide simulates the size of a three-year-old's throat.

Since young kids put everything in their mouths, if it fits in the tube, it could get stuck in a child's throat. That could lead to choking, the most common cause of toy-related deaths.


A Captain America Soft Shield, left, had 29 times the legal limit of lead, while this Princess Wand, right, has got a small heart which PIRG says comes off easily and fits into their choke tube


Public Health Advocate Jenny Levin drops a Littlest Pet Shop-Candyswirl Dreams Collection toy, which can cause a choking hazard if swallowed by kids, into a choke test cylinder as she speaks on dangerous toys in Washington, DC. on Tuesday

Toys that fit at least partially into the tube included a Princess Wand, which has got a small heart which PIRG says comes off easily and fits into the choke tube.

The same problem affected the round head of a toy seal in the Littlest Pet Shop - Candyswirl Dreams Collection which could detach from the toy's tail.

PIRG said three toys were too loud and exceeded federal limits on decibels: two Leap Frog phones for toddlers - the Chat & Count phone and the Lil' Phone Pal - and the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn remote.

‘Be vigilant this holiday,’ said PIRG in its Trouble In Toyland report. ‘There is no comprehensive list of potentially hazardous toys. Examine toys carefully for potential dangers before you make a purchase.’


RIRG warned that the Super Play Food Set contained pieces that small children could put in their mouths and choke on, while the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pencil Case, right, was deemed to contain lead


A Lil' Pal Phone toy, right, and a Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Remote toy, examples of potential noise hazards to very young children

The toy industry has been quick to issue a statement to say that it disagreed with the report's findings, saying that toys are actually safer than ever before and questioning the testing methods used by PIRG.

‘We know that toys are safe,’ said Joan Lawrence, vice president of standards and regulatory affairs at the Toy Industry Association.

‘In this country, by law, toys are required to have been tested and certified before they are put on store shelves.’

Lawrence said PIRG did not use a testing laboratory accredited by the federal agency that oversees toy safety - the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which approves labs for manufacturers to use for required testing on their products.


PIRG claim that the Littlest Pet Shop - Seal and Dolphins, left, contains small parts with label violations, while the Fisher-Price Loving Family Outdoor Barbecue, right, has near-small parts that may pose choking hazards


A pack of toy rings, an example of toys containing lead levels above the federal standard

PIRG acknowledged that the testing lab it used was not CPSC approved, but said it is the same lab it has been using for years.

CPSC spokeswoman Patty Davis said commission staff across the country began picking up samples of the toys highlighted by PIRG over the weekend and will test them to see if further action is needed.

Overall toy safety, Davis said, has improved in recent years. Government figures show 31 toy recalls in fiscal year 2013, which ended Sept. 30 - none involving lead. That's down from 38 recalls in 2012; 50 in 2009 and 172 in 2008.

A 2008 law that set stronger standards for children's products, including strict limits on lead, has helped make many products safer for youngsters. The law was passed after a wave of recalls of lead-tainted toys.


Toys containing small parts

  • Princess Wand, made by Greenbrier International, sold at Dollar Store for $1

Toys containing small parts with label violations

  • Bead Kit, made by Greenbrier International, sold at Dollar Store for $1
  • Littlest Pet Shop - #2744 Horse, made by Hasbro, sold at Kmart for $3.99
  • Littlest Pet Shop - Candyswirl Dreams Collection #3313, made by Hasbro, sold at Wal-Mart for $4.49
  • Littlest Pet Shop - Sunil Nevla, made by Hasbro, sold at Wal-Mart for $3.99
  • Littlest Pet Shop - Candyswirl Dreams Collection #3317, made by Hasbro, sold at Wal-Mart for $4.49
  • Littlest Pet Shop - Seal and Dolphins, made by Hasbro, sold at Kmart for $4.49

Small ball-Like toys, toy parts, and rounded food toys posing choking hazards

  • Gobble Gobble Guppies, made by Swimways, sold at Kmart for $14.99
  • Super Play Food Set, made by Geoffrey, sold at Toys-R-Us for $19.99

Near-small parts that may pose choking hazards

  • Fisher-Price Loving Family Outdoor Barbecue, made by Mattel, sold at Kmart for $22.99

Balloons marketed to children under eight years old

  • Punch Balloons made by Toy Investments, sold at Toys-R-Us for $.98

Toys and children’s products containing lead and other toxic chemicals

  • Captain America Soft Shield, made by Disguise, sold at Toys-R-Us for $8.99
  • Set of 10 Rings/Bagues, made by Greenbrier International, sold at Dollar General for $1
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pencil Case, made by Innovative Design, sold at Toys-R-Us for $4.99
  • Lamaze Take and Tidy Activity Mat, made by TOMY, sold at Babies-R-Us for $39.99
  • Monster High Skelita Holloween Costume, made by Rubie’s Costume Co, sold at Toys-R-Us for $29.99

Examples of Potentially hazardous magnet toys

  • Sonic Sound Sizzlers Noise Magnets, made by JA-RU, sold at Dollar General for $1

Examples of Potential Noise Hazards

  • Chat & Count Smart Phone, made by Leap Frog Enterprises, sold at Babies-R-Us for $17.99
  • Lil’ Pal Phone, made by Leap Frog Enterprises, sold at Babies-R-Us for $9.99
  • Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Remote, made by Mattel, sold Babies-R-Us for $12.99



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