With the heart of the holiday shopping season only a day away, a child's safety advocacy group and allies including Tucson Medical Center and Phoenix Children's Hospital have published a report highlighting dangerous toys that should not be under the Christmas tree this year...or any year.
The report identifies dangerous toys in four categories:
Toys that are too loud. These toys include Elmo Cell Phone, which rings too loudly for the infants and toddlers it is marketed for, and the Hot Wheels Super Stunt Rat Bomb Hot Rod, which is nearly 10% louder than the American Academy of Pediatrics' threshold for dangerous noise levels.
Toys that are choking hazards. This is a long list...but one example is the Sesame Street Oscar the Grouch doll that has a small hat, which can come off easily and present a choking hazard. A good rule of thumb is to avoid toys that have removable pieces smaller than the diameter of an empty cardboard toilet paper roll. If a toy - or some piece - fits within the tube, it will fit into a child's mouth, but get stuck in their throat.
Toys that contain phthalates, a chemical that makes plastics soft. Some studies link phthalates to health and developmental problems in unborn children in the womb. Federal law bans items with certain concentrations of this chemical. But at a news conference in Phoenix yesterday, consumer advocates showed dollar store toys that had 24 times the prohibited level. Check product labels for any presence of phthalates and make an informed decision for you and those on your list.
Toys that have lead based paint. Lead based paint has been the subject of much attention in the toy market since Mattel was forced to suspend sales of many popular toys in the wake of revelations that toys made in China were turning up with lead paint. In recent years the spotlight has certainly helped make toys safer, but safety advocates still caution consumers to read labels and take steps to buy from sources they have confidence in.
You can read the entire report here.
As the holiday season -- and shopping season -- heats up. Take a moment to make sure you are giving the