Consumer group warns of 'Trouble in Toyland'


The 32nd annual Trouble in Toyland report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group underscores familiar warnings about small parts and balloons that children can choke on, unsafe chemicals that are linked to serious health problems, and introduces a new worry - toys with internet connectivity that put a child's privacy at risk.

Topping this year's Trouble in Toyland list is the "My Friend Cayla" doll.

The report is published by the United States Public Interest Research Group. "However, until that's the case, toy buyers need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for children's presents", said Dev Gowda, toxics advocate with U.S. PIRG Education Fund, in a news release issued by the group. The other fidget spinner had a center circle that tested for 1,300 parts per million of lead and the arm tested for 520 parts per million.

"Balloons are responsible for more choking hazards and choking deaths among children that any other toy", Dobbelstein said.

More than 30 toys were on this year's report.

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After the consumer group first raised concerns over the lead levels in the fidget spinners, Target agreed to stop selling the gadgets. The Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal, which is also distributed by Bulls i Toy, also tested over the legal limit for children's products, the group said.

The attorney general's guide details every safety recall for children's products in the past year, including toys, clothing and furniture.

"We found these toys nationwide at chains across the country", said Dobbelstein. The two models of fidget spinners we found were labeled for ages 14 and up. But, he said, the fund believes the toy is intended for children 12 and younger. "Lead harms the developing brain and is easily ingested through normal hand-to-mouth behaviors". The group also urged parents to make sure small parts on toys pass a choking test, by seeing if pieces fit inside a toilet-paper tube.

Researchers say in addition to choosing safe toys, it also important for parents to supervise their children when they play with their toys.

The doll connects to the internet using an unsecured Bluetooth connection, say experts, and anything the child tells the doll is collected and uploaded to a website that could be vulnerable. Fidget spinners, for instance, contain small parts that can be a choking hazard, while Mattel's Wonder Woman sword has the potential to cause blunt-force injuries.