It's been a long time since Dan Aykroyd's Mainway Toys was satirically exposed on Saturday Night Live for selling such hazardous playthings as "Bag o' Glass," "Teddy Chainsaw Bear" and "Johnny Switchblade." But some new toys still hold hidden risks -- and for parents, it's no laughing matter.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group's 26th annual Trouble in Toyland report found a number of hazardous toys on store shelves this season. The leading dangers continue to be those with pieces small children might choke on, and toys that violate new lead and phthalate limits. Also making the list are toys that are potentially harmful to children's hearing, with noise volumes that exceed the standards recommended by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

And unlike Irwin Mainway's fictional company, the offenders include brands you've probably heard of -- household names like Disney, Honda, Hello Kitty and the Sesame Workshop.

Over the last 26 years, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has either recalled or taken corrective action on more than 150 toys called out in the PIRG surveys. CPSC is still evaluating the 2011 results, says Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director for U.S. PIRG.

The 2011 Hall of Shame


The following 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).

These toys have pieces that are choking hazards: 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) and Play ball x2 (Squishland).

The noise hazards list includes: Elmo's World Talking Cell Phone (Fisher-Price), Victorious Stereo Headphones (Nickelodeon) and Hotwheels' Super Stunt RAT BOMB (Hotwheels).

What's Missing From the Lists


Even if none of the toys mentioned above are ones your child wants or has, don't feel too comfortable. "Parents and toy givers need to know that the CPSC doesn't test all toys and that our report includes only a sampling of potentially hazardous toys," warns Mierzwinski. "Toys not on our list could pose hazards."

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.

Protect the Little Ones in Your Life

Toys with small parts are banned for kids under age 3 and should be kept away from any children who still put things in their mouths, regardless of age. Small balls are especially risky.

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.

"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 Mierzwinski.

To test whether a toy or toy part is a choking hazard, use 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. (And in fact, that toilet paper tube is actually bigger than the standard "small parts tester." U.S. PIRG wants the standard to be made bigger, because some kids have choked on items that wouldn't fit into the current standard tester.

To avoid lead hazards, don't buy metal jewelry for kids. Don't let kids chew on brightly colored plastic or wooden toys. And pay attention to the age labels on toys -- those aren't just recommendations: There are safety implications to those labels.

"Think about how the child you are shopping for plays with toys. Do they put things in their mouth? Do they have younger siblings?" asks Rachel Weintraub, director of product safety and senior counsel for the Consumer Federation of America.
If so, avoid buying toys with small parts -- and be safe.

For more information, visit www.saferproducts.gov and www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx.











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32 Comments

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kenfenton

Dear Lost-just exactly what is the number of dead children that you deem acceptable? Is the number based on whose children they are? There are so-o-o-o many "accidents" coming from China that I will not buy anything from there.

November 30 2011 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kenfenton's comment
Linda

Ken people just think it won't hurt them. We the people of United States need to ban together and strike on buying garbage from China. Our Big Business can do there what they can't do here.
If all the people even cut out buying half the useless crapp that has a China sticker on it, we would make a difference without having to vote. Money is Power and a small amount from a lot of people is huge.

December 02 2011 at 8:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lostinram

First of all this article is full of misrepresentations. 1.) the CPSC does not test any toys, or other products. These items are tested by "not for profit" organizations like HEC. Not for profit is in quotes because the salaries they pay eat up their profits. This is all they do. They buy products, test them, and then sue the companies and notify CPSC. 2.) China exports billions of products into the US, only a handful ever have "dangerous" amounts of lead. The products are tested before leaving China, and any company bringing in products, knows that the products have lead or not. Allowing these products into our country is not the fault of the chinese, but the importer. Stop blaming these issues on China. Stop suggesting ridiculous notions like China is trying to make our children sickly and weak.The people who are blaming China are trying to diffuse the blame away from the importer. 3.) Who are we actually protecting? How many chjildren fall sick from "toxic toys" each year? None, In fact, it is very rare for children to become sick due to lead in toys or jewelry. So far, since 2006 only three kids have actually died, due to exposure to lead from toys or jewelry, that have been reported. There are no figures for how many children have become sick from lead poisoning due to toys and jewelry.

November 30 2011 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lostinram's comment
Linda

There may not be statistics, because the Greedy Ba$tards have been caught and the products recalled and Toxic effects sometime don't show up until a long time. It's the long term effect that has to be thought of. And thank GOD someone does look now and then.
YES, and you are correct Importers are responsible and so are the MFG companies who are American companies in China, where our regulations really mean nothing. I have said this through out the blog. We the people of United States need to Unite together and start eliminating items we buy from China. ( What will the importers import) It's our future we need to worry about. Toys get the target because so much is bought. Our Country is weak and making China strong, so lostinram you can defend China all you want but I know this country is held together best by We the People . We are the back bone to the Greatest place to live. Do we really need to buy the cheap products, or can. YOU WANT CHANGE ........VOTING DIDN'T DO IT STOP SPENDING MONEY ON THE IMPORTS FROM CHINA and you will be heard.

December 02 2011 at 8:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hookcolumbus

if i were a toy manufacturer, and one of these toys were mine, i would sue the editor of this story.

November 30 2011 at 10:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hookcolumbus's comment
Linda

I guess you will have to see if that happens. Maybe that should be the new passtime for the reality shows.
" Will the Toy MFG sue or is it True?" and do more Americans die, because we needed those plastic and sick metal toys for our garbage dumps. Oh but that's Ok we send our garbage to China. Think about that and why?
See how the circle goes/

December 02 2011 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Linda

Everyone should realize, the greed of America's Globalized Corporations especially in China, will allow these companies like the ones we have already heard about in (Fisher and Price China take the blame for TOXIC TOYS.) Wake up America, if it's an American company in China, then so should be our regulations and standards of safety. STOP BUYING CHINA PRODUCTS. Does anyone ever think this is an attack on our American children, make them sick, make our country weak. United we Stand Divided we Fall.

November 30 2011 at 6:27 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
HELLO MEANLADY

Why are we still having problems with lead in toys.

November 30 2011 at 12:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to HELLO MEANLADY's comment
Linda

You Mean Chemical Toxic Warfare from China. Of Course it's their way of attacking America and killing our kids. United we stand divided we fall. Unite America and protest and don't buy the garbage coming from China

November 30 2011 at 7:00 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dennis93456

CHINESE MADE WAKE UP

November 30 2011 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
HELLO MEANLADY

Why are we still having problems with lead in toys.

November 30 2011 at 12:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to HELLO MEANLADY's comment
Linda

Because American's always think the regulations will be put in place. Did you ever think this is a Chemical warfare on our children? Make them weak, will make our Country weak.

November 30 2011 at 6:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Fred

If the whole world knows these are dangerous toy's, why the hell are they still being sold???????????

November 29 2011 at 10:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Fred's comment
ectullis

Santa is bringing me a AK-47.

November 29 2011 at 9:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ectullis's comment
savemycountry911

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!

November 29 2011 at 9:08 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
buffalobeard

How the f--k did our parents ad ancestors live long enough to have kids! Lead was in paint for thousands of years, and yet people managed to survive! My father 1916-2008 remembered asbestos insulation on furnace pipes in the basement, lead paint all over the place( the house he grew up in was built in 1790!) They sprayed the apple trees on the farm with arsenate of lead and nicotine sulfate with no respirators;just stood up wind! and yet he lived to be 92 yrs old! My grandfather died at 91; killed by a bleeding ulcer! Toothpaste came in lead tubes until the mid 70's! Get a grip. What about leaded gas? It wasn't outlawed until the late 70's. Maybe that's why all the politicians over 50 are nuts!

November 29 2011 at 7:08 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to buffalobeard's comment
HELLO MEANLADY

Everybody doesn't live to be 92 yrs old many many many people have DIED from these poisens.

November 30 2011 at 12:31 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Linda

Your parents lived in a world where kids did not have so many toys. Things like wooden blocks were not painted. Also body systems were not so weekened by all the other toxins there are today. We are over exposed are too many things. Your father was most likely a lucky person and caring parents, who were there to watch him. So he wasn't eating the lead paint off his window sills and such. Don't think for one moment that today can be compared to yester year.
PS Politians are the way they are because we as Americans are a divived Nation, and they are the leaders of the division. United we Stand Divivded we fall. USA is the Best Country Ever and We the people need to realise there are to many outside influences to shatter our country apart. We have what so many countries want we have or take it away because they can't. Wake Up America protest all this China garbage filling up Wal Marts and damaging our kids futures. We all see Voting does not make change. We the People can do that, simply by not buying all the garbage from other countries. Things we don't need. If everyone thought Do I need that 1.00 dollar item and pocketed our money. Let China kill their own with their Toxic Toys Wake up America. Be strong you can do it.

November 30 2011 at 6:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dennis93456

STOP BUYING PRODUCTS FROM CHINA MART AKA WALMART SHOP LOCAL AMERICAN MADE

November 29 2011 at 4:56 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to dennis93456's comment