Experts warn parents about hazardous toys

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Just before parents head to the stores and purchase gifts for their children, children’s experts at Beaumont Hospital-Dearborn presented a report of dangerous toys by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

The 31st annual Trouble in Toyland survey found that toys containing lead, powerful magnets, and other hazards are still available for purchase in stores and online.

PIRG offered safety guidelines for purchasing toys, and its reports have led to more than 150 recalls and other enforcement actions over its more than 30 years.

PIRG took the Consumer Product Safety Commission recall list from January 2015 to October 2016 and then identified the items that could be given as toys to children.

Toys were categorized by lead, chemicals that cannot be seen or detected without testing, choking hazards, magnets and batteries.

Next, PIRG researched companies online with stores and websites which had the toys on the recall list in stock and sent the information to CPSC.

“Some recalls are not well-publicized, so parents should check their house for previously recalled toys,” said Beaumont Children’s Trauma Prevention Coordinator Donna Bucciarelli. “Also, keep in mind that recalled toys may still be available online.”

Recalled toys named by CPSC from January 2015 to October 2016 include remote control flying toys, toy glockenspiel, and pencil cases with magnets.

The remote control flying toy has an overheating USB charging cord, the glockenspiel paint contains high levels of lead, and magnets in the pencil case are a ingestion hazard if swallowed.

“Magnets and batteries can spread through the body, cause burning and require surgery for removal,” Bucciarelli said. “Lead affects learning and brain function and PVC ingestion can lead to hormonal or reproduction issues.

“Children are curious and want to pick at toys or know where a sound is coming from so parents need to be educated on what they purchase.”

Parents can protect their children by examining toys before purchase, check toys already owned by comparing them to the recall list, and place toys with small or hazards out of reach.

“We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe,” U.S. PIRG Toxics Advocate Dev Gowda said. “However, until that’s the case, consumers should understand two things: first, not all recalls may be well-publicized so you should check your house for previously recalled toys, and, second, some toys that are recalled may still be available online.”

For more information on the study go to uspirgedfund.org.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)