Parents

'Trouble in Toyland': See which 22 toys have been deemed unsafe for kids

An examination of hundreds of toys by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund has turned up 22 that could present special risks for young children.

The U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund, an independent research group that has been surveying toy safety for 30 years, said the toys it identified this year present choking hazards, exceed federal toxic standards or are loud enough to damage a child’s hearing.

“We discovered that unsafe toys remain widely available,” the group said in its annual report.

U.S. PIRG Education Fund
“Don’t trust that (toys) are safe just because they are on a store shelf,” the U.S. PIRG Education Fund said in its annual survey of toy safety.

Over the years, the group’s findings have led to 150 product recalls and other regulatory actions. This year, the U.S. PIRG Education Fund said these issues surfaced in the toys it examined:

  • Chromium, which can lead to allergic reactions including skin redness, swelling and ulcers.
  • Phthalates, which can harm development of the male reproductive system.
  • Small parts that could block a child’s airway.
  • Small balls less than 1.75 inches in diameter that could become choking hazards for children age 3 and younger.
  • Balloons that could be inhaled when trying to blow them up and that are being marketed to young children. (“Balloons are responsible for more choking deaths among children than any other toy or children’s product,” the group said in its report.)
  • Magnets that, if swallowed, can perforate intestinal walls and be fatal.
  • Excessive noise that could contribute to hearing loss.

Companies that make, distribute and sell the toys identified in the report told TODAY that they are committed to customer safety. To see their reactions to this year's toy-safety survey, click here.

RELATED: Companies respond to 'Trouble in Toyland' toy-safety report

U.S. PIRG Education Fund researchers encouraged parents to review the information at ToySafetyTips.org before shopping and to examine toys carefully before buying them. “Don’t trust that they are safe just because they are on a store shelf,” the group said. Unsafe toys or toy-related injuries should be reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission at SaferProducts.gov.

Here is the list of 22 toys flagged in this year’s U.S. PIRG Education Fund survey, which does not rank toys in a particular order:

1. Product name: Minions Locking Pencil Case; Manufacturer/Distributor: Vaultz; Type of hazard: Chromium

2. Product name: Slinky Jr.; Manufacturer/Distributor: Alex Brands; Type of hazard: Chromium

3. Product name: Magnetic Numbers; Manufacturer/Distributor: Greenbrier International Inc.; Type of hazard: Chromium

4. Product name: Fun Bubbles Jump Rope; Manufacturer/Distributor: Ja-Ru Inc.; Type of hazard: Phthalate

5. Product name: Fairy Wand; Manufacturer/Distributor: Greenbrier International Inc.; Type of hazard: Choking (small part)

6. Product name: Disney Pixar Finding Nemo Dory Figurine; Manufacturer/Distributor: Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company; Type of hazard: Choking (small part)

7. Product name: G2 Air Mini Football; Manufacturer/Distributor: Hedstrom; Type of hazard: Choking (small part)

8. Product name: Disney Pixar Riplash Racers; Manufacturer/Distributor: Mattel; Type of hazard: Choking (small part)

9. Product name: Disney Planes; Manufacturer/Distributor: Mattel; Type of hazard: Choking (small part label violation)

10. Product name: Nickelodeon Mermaid Dora; Manufacturer/Distributor: Fisher-Price; Type of hazard: Choking (small part label violation)

11. Product name: Sonic Sound Sizzlers Noise Magnets; Manufacturer/Distributor: Ja-Ru Inc.; Type of hazard: Magnet

12. Product name: Singing Magnets; Manufacturer/Distributor: Greenbrier International Inc.; Type of hazard: Magnet

13. Product name: Magic Towel (football shape); Manufacturer/Distributor: Greenbrier International Inc.; Type of hazard: Choking (small ball)

14. Product name: Magic Towel (baseball shape); Manufacturer/Distributor: Greenbrier International Inc.; Type of hazard: Choking (small ball)

15. Product name: Mega Value Pack 16 Latex Punch Balloons; Manufacturer/Distributor: Amscan; Type of hazard: Choking (balloon)

16. Product name: Mega Value Pack 12 Water Bomb Packs; Manufacturer/Distributor: Amscan; Type of hazard: Choking (balloon)

17. Product name: Balloon Animal Kit; Manufacturer/Distributor: Amscan; Type of hazard: Choking (balloon)

18. Product name: Vtech Smart Wheels; Manufacturer/Distributor: Vtech Electronics; Type of hazard: Loud

19. Product name: Vtech Smart Animals; Manufacturer/Distributor: Vtech Electronics; Type of hazard: Loud

20. Product name: Vtech Spin and Learn Color Flashlight; Manufacturer/Distributor: Vtech Electronics; Type of hazard: Loud

21. Product name: Fisher Price Click n Learn Remote; Manufacturer/Distributor: Fisher-Price; Type of hazard: Loud

22. Product name: Leap Frog Fridge Phonics; Manufacturer/Distributor: Leap Frog; Type of hazard: Loud

Follow TODAY.com writer Laura T. Coffey on Twitter @ltcoff and Google+.

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