Public Interest Research Group Releases "Trouble in Toyland" Report
December 5, 2017
Now that the holiday shopping season is in full swing, anyone buying presents for kids is urged to do some homework before purchasing toys, particularly those with technology components.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has released its "Trouble in Toyland" report. The list of toy-safety hazards includes some of the usual concerns over small parts and lead content, but today's high-tech toys raise new issues. The doll "My Friend Cayla" is on the list; it has Bluetooth capability that PIRG's Kristen Carver says is cause for concern. "Your child can ask it questions, and it talks back to you. It has an unsecured Bluetooth connection. Anybody could really access it and could potentially listen in on things that are going on in your home." The FBI recently issued a warning against toys that include unsecured technology, and the doll is banned in Germany. The company has insisted in public statements the doll is safe.
PIRG also found high levels of lead in some fidget spinners sold at Target, although the retailer says it has since removed them from its shelves. Carver cites problems with toys found in dollar stores that had conflicting information on their packaging. "They had misleading labels. So, they had labels that said they're 'not for children under 8,' however they also had a '3-plus' label."
She adds magnets and button batteries present extra concerns as choking hazards since they can cause severe damage to a child's digestive system and take extra time to be discovered in their bodies. To make sure smaller toys don't present a choking hazard to young children, Carver recommends using a toilet paper roll. Any toy or part that fits inside the roll could get lodged in a child's throat. The Public News Service contributed to this report. (JK)