The consumer watchdog group, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG), for the 35th time, has released its annual report titled “Trouble in Toyland” in collaboration with the child safety group Kids in Danger. In each of the past five years, USPIRG said, nearly 250,000 children have been treated for toy-related injuries. Those numbers could increase this year because of the coronavirus pandemic when children have been spending more time at home, most of it with a lack of supervision by work-at-home parents.
What the Report Says
The “Trouble in Toyland 2020” report focused on nine categories of dangerous toys while offering tips on how caregivers can keep children safe. It also directs consumers to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) database of recalls where one can also file a report about an unsafe toy or incident.
High on the list of dangerous toys this year were magnets, which can become lodged in a child’s body and cause severe damage if ingested. These magnets, which are extremely powerful, can seriously damage internal organs if children swallow them. Swallowing batteries is also a common incident. If a child has swallowed a battery a child might run a fever or seem unwell. However, swallowed batteries can cause serious damage as well. A button battery can burn a child’s esophagus within a couple of hours.
Noisy toys are also causing concern. Anything with sounds with decibel levels of more than 80 can potentially cause hearing damage in children with prolonged exposure. Choking hazards are another major concern. Toys with small, loose parts or parts that can come off easily pose a serious choking hazard.
Tips for Parents and Caregivers
If you are shopping for toys for a child this year, here are a few tips to help you choose safer toys:
- Make sure that the toys are age-appropriate by checking the labels before buying.
- Throw away packaging such as plastic bags or Styrofoam peanuts.
- Never give toys to young children that have small, loose parts that can be easily pulled out.
- Don’t allow children to play with magnet toys. When swallowed, these magnets attract to each other inside the digestive tract causing ulcerations, bowel blockage and severe infection.
- Do not allow children to play with long cords or strings.
- Find out if toys have toxic chemicals in them. Healthystuff.org has chemical content ratings for more than 5,000 products.
If your child has been injured by a faulty or defectively designed toy, please contact an experienced product defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.