Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital has shared the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s (U.S. PIRG) 33rd annual Trouble in Toyland Report. According to the report, dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves. The survey of potentially hazardous toys found that, despite recent progress, consumers must still be wary when shopping this holiday season.
“No one should worry about whether or not the toy they’re buying is toxic or dangerous. But in 2018, we’re still finding hazards in some of the most popular toys. Toy manufacturers must do better to ensure their products are safe before they end up in children’s hands and mouths,” said Adam Garber, Consumer Watchdog for U.S. PIRG.
Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital pediatricians Jeff Holloway, M.D., and Sara Sheehan, M.D., will release the list of recalled toys and provide tips for shoppers to help them avoid purchasing unsafe toys for loved ones this holiday season.
“We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe, however, until that is the case, parents and toy shoppers should know that recalled toys still can be found online and may already be in children’s homes,” Holloway said. “It is illegal to sell a recalled product under Consumer Product Safety Commission rules, but the report shows that recalled toys are being sold to unsuspecting consumers online. The Trouble in Toyland report includes a full list of recalled toys, shopping tips and recommendations for what consumers should do if they have the recalled toys in their homes.”
For more than 30 years, Trouble in Toyland has issued toy safety guidelines and has provided examples of toys currently on store shelves that pose potential safety hazards to small children. Key findings from this year’s report include:
- Hazardous Slime: A number of popular ‘slimes’ had toxic levels of boron, likely in the form of borax, up to 15 times the European Union’s limit. According to the EPA, ingesting boron can cause nausea, vomiting, long-term reproductive health issues and can even be fatal.
- Missing Online Choking Warnings: In a survey of five search pages for balloons, U.S. PIRG found no choking hazard labels on 87 percent of the latex balloons marketed to parents of children under 2, an apparent violation of the law. Among children’s products, balloons are the leading cause of suffocation death.
- Privacy-Invasive Smart Toys: The report also highlights two smart toys, a robot toy and a tablet, with privacy concerns discovered through an investigation by the Mozilla Foundation. Every year, the potential for smart toys to expose private data becomes a more significant concern.
“The continued presence of these hazards in toys highlights the need for constant vigilance by parents, grandparents and gift-givers to ensure that children do not end up playing with unsafe toys,” Sheehan said. “We also want parents and toy shoppers to look carefully at toys they may already own and toys that are in the homes of friends and family they may be visiting during the holidays.”
“Regulators need to determine the appropriate health-based standards to protect children from boron in slime,” said Tano Toussaint, Consumer Watchdog Associate at U.S. PIRG. “In the meantime, we want parents to know the risks, so they can supervise their kids accordingly,” said
While there are currently no limits on boron in children’s toys in the U.S., the advocacy organization called for placing warning labels on products and a full public hearing to determine safe levels of boron.
In addition to identifying dangerous toys already on store shelves, U.S. PIRG provides a guide on how parents, grandparents and other caretakers can ensure toys are safe and stay updated on recalled toys at www.ToySafetyTips.org.