The 32nd Annual Toy Safety Report, submitted last week by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, emphasizes child safety during the holiday season of toy-buying and gift-giving:
Among the toys surveyed this year, we found potential choking hazards, and two products with concentrations of lead exceeding federal standards. We also found data-collecting toys that may violate children’s privacy laws. This report not only lists the potentially dangerous toys that we found this year, but also describes why and how the toys could harm children.
Parents are urged to take a look at toys already in the house — accumulated from previous birthdays and holidays — because some of them may have been recalled:
Over the past 12 months, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with manufacturers and distributors, has announced more than 30 recalls of toys and children’s products, totaling more than 6.5 million units.
Researchers also examined toys recalled by the CPSC between October 2016 and October 2017, and looked at whether they appeared to still be available for sale online. Researchers did not find any recalled toys for sale online, but caution parents to make sure previously recalled toys are not in their homes.
The CPSC enforces safety standards and regulations regarding toxic substances (like lead, found to be present in two models of fidget spinners), choking hazards (from small toy parts, and from balloons), and, most recently, data-collecting, privacy-invasive toys (like the “My Friend Cayla” doll):
“Connected Toys” like this one are banned in Germany for privacy violations and are the subject of a complaint by several consumer groups to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission because they may violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. In July, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a warning to consumers to “consider cyber security prior to introducing smart, interactive, internet-connected toys into their homes.”
Read the full “Trouble in Toyland” report from U.S. PIRG here.