Article On Dangerous Toys

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SearchingForRainbows, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    Cross These Dangerous Toys Off Kids' Christmas List, Experts Say
    Annual 'Trouble in Toyland' report cites playthings that could choke or poison a child
    By Dennis Thompson
    HealthDay Reporter

    TUESDAY, Nov. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Toxic or dangerous toys can still be found on store shelves despite tough new federal regulations, according to a report released Tuesday.

    Researchers found toys for sale that contained toxic levels of lead, cadmium, antimony and phthalates, said this year's "Trouble in Toyland" report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).

    One vinyl toy, the Marvel Super Hero Squad Soft Shield, contained 29 times the legal limit of lead.

    "That toy is recommended for ages 2 and up," said Andrew Fish, a program associate with the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group. "It really shouldn't be recommended for anyone at that level."

    A Lamaze-brand infant play mat contained high levels of antimony, a toxic metal that has been classified as a cancer-causing agent. A Ninja Turtles Pencil Case contained high levels of phthalates and cadmium. Phthalates are chemicals suspected to cause developmental health effects. Cadmium is a toxic metal that can cause learning disabilities and kidney problems.

    U.S. PIRG researchers also found the following:

    Toys that still pose a choking hazard, despite a ban on small parts in toys for children under 3 years old
    Toys that are potentially harmful to children's hearing
    Toys containing small powerful magnets that can be dangerous if swallowed

    Magnets are a particular concern. If a child swallows more than one, the magnets can stick together inside their bodies and cause internal damage.

    "Magnet toys are much stronger than they have been in the past, and therefore pose a greater health risk, especially to young children because they routinely put toys in their mouths," Fish said.

    A 2-year-old child suffered intestinal tears in January after swallowing 62 rare earth magnets, the report found. Between 2009 and 2011 there were 1,700 emergency room visits following the ingestion of magnets. More than 70 percent of those cases involved children between ages 4 and 12.

    The U.S. PIRG report also raised concerns regarding excessively loud toys that could harm a child's hearing.

    The group tested toys based on standards that consider anything above 85 decibels dangerous to human ears, and sounds above 65 decibels dangerous for toys meant to be held close to the ear. Prolonged exposure can lead to gradual hearing loss.

    "One in five children will have some form of hearing loss by the time they reach age 12," Fish said.

    Researchers found three toys on store shelves that exceed these loudness limits. These were the LeapFrog Chat & Count Smart Phone, the LeapFrog Lil'Phone Pal and the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Remote.

    Toys that pose a choking hazard also continued to crop up on store shelves, the report said. U.S. PIRG researchers found a number of toys containing parts that would fit through the "choke tube" that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides to parents to assess choking hazards.

    Fish said parents should be on their guard regardless of where they purchase toys. "We found hazardous toys from dollar stores and from nationwide chains. The problems are really across the board," he noted.

    "Parents should remember that our report only includes examples of potentially hazardous toys, and is not intended to be a comprehensive list," Fish said. "They should always examine toys carefully for potential hazards before purchasing, and they should always read labels, warnings and age recommendations."

    Consumer groups also called on the CPSC to continue vigorous enforcement of safety laws governing children's toys.

    "Parents and all consumers should have more confidence in the products they may own or consider purchasing but should also continue to do the right research to select the safest and most appropriate gifts for the children on their gift lists," Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and senior counsel at Consumer Federation of America, said in a U.S. PIRG statement.

    "Manufacturers should ensure they comply with the law," Weintraub said. "Continued CPSC enforcement and adequate funding is necessary to further protect our nation's children."

    More information

    Visit the U.S. Public Interest Research Group to view the complete Trouble in Toyland 2013 report.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Thanks! It is highly frustrating to try to find safe toys because you cannot really know what type of paint is used to make them until testing is done - after the toy is released. There are groups that believe the countries that manufacture toys use harmful paint on some batches and not others as a way to save money and harm our children. Not sure I believe or disbelieve it, but I have heard some interesting conversations on it.

    It is easy to identify toys too small for a child under 3 because the toy or parts of the toy will fit into a toilet paper tube. A number of years ago some group sold a plastic tube to test toys with for around ten bucks but many parents I know laughed at it because a toilet paper tube is a lot cheaper.

    One thing to think about at Christmas is the volume of toys. Toys that make noise are very popular and incredibly easy to find. The decibel level s measured at 12 to 18 inches away from the toy for safety evaluations, but most children, esp small children, have the toys far closer to their ears. We are raising generations of children with hearing loss that shows up at earlier and earlier ages due to these toys. The worst of the toys are ones that make sudden noises rather than ones who make constant noises. it is the sudden, loud noise that does the most damage according to several audiologists I know. Of course all toys should be evaluated, but it is better to choose ones that talk constantly/consistently rather than ones with sudden burst of sound.

    It is pretty sad to see hearing loss in people in their 20s and even earlier. My brother was the kind who cranked the music all the way up on his headphones from about age 12 or so, and around age 27 or so I noticed that he didn't hear certain ranges of sound. By age 35 it was very noticeable to me and beginning to be seen by others around him. To have kids exposed to these toys in their cribs or as toddlers, well, that damage could show up MUCH younger. I know that many of the toys my children had greatly exceeded the decibel level considered safe for kids based on how close the device was to their ears. Many of the toys passed safety tests based on decibel level measured at 2 or more times the distance any of my kids could hold the age appropriate toy from their heads and still play with it. A friend of the family is an audiologist and helped me measure the volume of our toys one year. One aunt and I disagreed about this issue and it is her friend who came and measured thedecibel level of some of our children's toys. We were all shocked and dismayed at the volume of the sounds the toys made when held at a child's arm's length, much less when held the way a child would actually play with the toy.

    This is one reason that batteries did not get replaced in most of their noisy toys. I blamed the lack of new batteries on my hate of inanimate objects that talk or make noise at me, but really it was worry about their hearing that was the reason. When they started using headphones the rule is that if someone next to you can hear your music, you must turn it down. They didn't like that either, but they understood and accepted it.

    Even now, at age 22, Wiz has commented on the things he can hear that his friends and classmates cannot. Sometimes he wishes he couldn't hear some things, but not usually. He commented on this at dinner a few months ago, and he blames the lack of noisy toys and loud headphone use for his current lack of hearing loss.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Yes, I am an old fogey when it comes to this kind of thing. I always have been.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    No you aren't, Susie. 'Cause if you are, then I am, and I'm not being called an old fogey!
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I heard the day before yesterday I think that there hadnt been any recalls for lead in 2013. I personally am not worried at all about the toys that make noise. The first time a kid goes to a concert they will be exposed to much louder sound. They also make "child friendly" headphones for use with iPods, tablets and even the computer.

    If I have to worry about what goes in the Mouse's mouth, well Im just out of luck because she will stick anything in there and it doesnt have to be a toy. I have no clue why some of the little toys are sold because I think they are stupid but oh well. They have a whole series of toys that are little squishy animals inside what appears to be a plastic marble. I cant imagine kids keeping up with them.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Wow... Some of the Mega Blocks that my Mom bought Rose for her first birthday will easily fit in a toilet paper tube!!! But they're too big for her mouth.

    There is NO substitute for supervision. Those rare earth magnets? BuckyBalls was put out of business by the CSPA (??) because children swallowed them. The company was blamed despite having no less than 5 warnings per package that they were not meant for children under age 14. We have some - and they are completely inaccessible to Rose.