Bah, humbug! Beware of dangerous toys this holiday season

by Eric Pearson

Toxic and dangerous toys are right now sitting on store shelves, and a public interest group is warning consumers to beware when purchasing toys for toddlers because of possible safety hazards.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group recently released its 27th annual Trouble in Toyland survey, and the report concluded that there are far too many dangerous toys on store shelves this holiday season. Researchers visited national toy stores, malls and dollar stores in September through November of this year to look for potential toxic, choking, strangulation and noise hazards. “We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. However, until that’s the case, parents need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys,” said Nasima Hossain, public health advocate for Public Interest Research Group, in a release detailing the report.

Over the years, the organization said, its reports have led to more than 150 recalls and other regulatory actions. This year’s list includes a potentially dangerous magnet toy and a bowling game that is a choking hazard. Among the survey’s other findings:

  • Lead exposure from toys remains a serious risk to the brains of young children and “can cause permanent mental and developmental impairments.”
  • Magnet toys pose problems, especially if the magnets are swallowed. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has estimated there were 1,700 emergency room cases nationwide between 2009 and 2011 involving the ingestion of high-power magnets, nearly three-quarters of them in children between four and 12.
  • Two toys — a car driving wheel on a console and a toy guitar — exceed the recommended limit for continuous exposure to noise above 65 decibels.
  • Several toys contain small parts having what the organization says is improper labeling and might be mistakenly purchased for children under three years of age. Choking on small toy parts such as marbles and balloons has resulted in hundreds of deaths over the past two decades.

Visit the U.S. Public Interest Research Group website to read the survey report and a summary of 2012’s potentially dangerous toys.

If your child has been injured by a dangerous toy, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson to learn more about your legal rights. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free case evaluation form located on the right of this page.

by Eric Pearson

Eric Pearson is a licensed attorney and a partner at HO&P who handles commercial and personal injury lawsuits. Eric has been selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication.