Every year people go out to stores small and large looking for toys for their kids, grand kids, nieces and nephews. Once you get there you realize that there are so many in an ocean of dazzling colors that it’s enough to give you a seizure. Which one to pick?

Well, when it comes to the topic of safety and better question to ask yourself is which one NOT to pick. That’s what the US Public Interest Research Group’s (PIRG) annual report on safe toys is all about. Along with help from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) they set them in categories.

Toys With A Potential Chocking Hazard

Choking on small toy parts, on small balls, on marbles and balloons continues to be the major cause of toy-related deaths and injuries. Between 1990 and 2010, over 200 children died from a choking incident.


To test a chocking hazard can be done at home by simply setting the toy or toy part in a standard toilet paper tube — it’ll be about 1.75 inches in diameter. If a toy, toy part or ball fits in it, it’s too small for kids who put things in their mouths.

Latex balloons are not recommended for children under 8. Broken latex balloon parts on the floor are very dangerous to toddlers and crawlers, but even older children are at risk for inhaling a piece of a balloon that explodes while being inflated.

Toys that PIRG says have pieces that are potential choking hazards include:

  • Wooden blocks set (ToySmith)
  • Sesame Street Oscar Doll (Sesame Workshop)
  • Dinosaur multi pack, similar sea life and turtle packs (Greenbrier International)
  • HABA fruit in a bag (HABA)
  • Green rubber grape (iwako)
  • Orange bear (4M2U)
  • Flat baby blocks and square counting blocks (Greenbrier International),
  • 4 dollar box items (Rhode Island Novelty)
  • Play ball x2 (Squishland)

Toys With A Potential Toxic Hazard

Dozens of studies have shown negative health effects of exposure to phthalates (plastics that break down into toxins) into in the womb or in child development. Environmental Protection Agency studies show exposure leads to an increase in premature delivery and reproductive defects. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 permanently banned toys containing three phthalates and set temporary limits on three others. No toy or childcare article can contain more than 1000ppm of each of the six phthalates.

There is also a fear that the toy could contain lead. Lead has been show to be toxic to all human beings, lowering immune systems, and causing serious problems in the nervous system, kidneys, liver, blood, and bones. This could cause death.

Toys were found to be potentially dangerous due to higher levels of lead or other toxic chemicals than PIRG considers acceptable:

  • Funny Glasses (Joking Around)
  • Sleep Mask (Claire’s)
  • Little Hands Love Book (Piggy Toes Press)
  • Whirly Wheel (LL)
  • Spritz Medals (Spritz)
  • Hello Kitty eyeshadow/keychain (Hello Kitty)
  • Tinkerbell Watch (Disney Fairies)
  • Peace Sign Bracelet (Family Dollar)
  • Honda Motorcycle (Honda)

Toys With A Potential Noise Hazard

A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed one in five U.S. children will have some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach age 12; this may be in part due to many children using toys and other children’s products that emit loud sounds such as music players. The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders advises that prolonged exposure to noise above 85 decibels (equal to a train whistle or loud traffic) will cause gradual hearing loss in any age range. Many toys exceed this.

The PIRG noise hazards list includes:

  • Elmo’s World Talking Cell Phone (Fisher-Price)
  • Victorious Stereo Headphones (Nickelodeon)
  • Hotwheels’ Super Stunt RAT BOMB (Hotwheels)

Hazardous Toy Recalls

Last year, the CPSC recalled almost 200,000 individual toy units for violations of lead standards. Lead, when ingested, interferes with nervous system development and causes a host of other health issues. That makes it hazardous for anyone, but extra dangerous for children — and a bad idea on anything they might put in their mouths.

Also last year, the CPSC recalled more than 3.5 million toys and other children’s products because of choking hazards. Since 1990, of the more than 400 children’s deaths associated with toys, more than half were caused by choking on balloons, small toy parts and small balls.

“It is very important for parents who have older kids, as well as little ones who still put things in their mouth, to keep the older kids’ small toys and balls away from the younger children,” says PIRG.

Defective Design Lawyers

This is not just a warning for Christmas, but year round people should check the recall and ban list before they go shopping for toys of any occasion. When recalls are announced, it is generally done as a preventative measure not as a reactionary measure, though too many times they are in reaction to tragic circumstances such as the wrongful death or serious injury of a child. This is when parents need experienced representation to seek the justice.

If you or a child are seriously injured or hospitalized by Fisher-Price products then you need a skilled lawyer with experience in Product Liability Litigation to assure that you get the compensation you deserve. Call Phillips Law Firm for a free consultation.