Toy Safety

Updated Tuesday --- November 20, 2007 -- 1:14pm

A consumer group wants parents this holiday season to be on the lookout for hazardous toys on some store shelves.

The U.S. public interest research group says that some stores are still carrying toys with either lead content danger or pose a choking hazard.
The group says the consumer product safety commission does-not-have enough inspectors in their labs and at ports to catch unsafe toys entering the U.S. market.

The group says in 2005, 20 children died from toy-related incidents.
Another 73,000 kids had to go to the emergency room with toy-related injuries.


TOP Toys

Posted Monday --- November 19, 2007 -- 5:00pm

Your children's Christmas wish lists are as much a part of the holiday tradition as the tree and Santa Clause himself. But before you head to the toy aisle, we've got Parenting Magazine's list of this year's top toys which are kid tested and parent approved.

You know how it goes, browsing aisle after aisle after aisle for the best toys of the season can be frustrating, when at the end of day, as mother of two Erika Young says, "Sometimes it's a complete surprise what they like and what they don't like."

But this year, picking Christmas gifts your kids doesn't have to be as big a surprise.

Parenting Magazine has compiled a list of the year's top toys. It tested more than 100 toys to find kids favorites, and got input from moms who rated their kids' picks for safety, durability, how tough they were to put together and whether they made annoying noises.

All things mom's like Erika Young can appreciate, although she mainly shops based on what her kids pick out of catalogs. Young says, "I'm trying to find things that I think they are going to think is fun and that they can learn from is really the biggest thing and things we can do as a family."

Young hadn't seen the list, but was pleasantly surprised to find a few toys she recognized. Young says, "We actually have the soft sorting pals ... it's really nice for the babies, my daughter loved it when she was a baby."

Turns out "Soft Sorting Pals" are 1 of 5 toys recommended for kids up to 18 months. Another is this "Go Baby Go! Stride-to-Ride Lion."

For kids 18 months to 3 years, some of the top toys are Pre-Zolo Blocks, and the Eric Carle Brown Bear Puzzle Tiles, something Chris Voss's three kids get a lot of use out of. Voss says, "The kids like those really well."

Top Toys for your tots ages 3 to 5 are the "ClickStart My First Computer" and a twist on an old favorite, "A World Of LEGO Mosaics." Voss says, "So you'd recommend that for other parents? Ya, I like that. Our kids play with that quite a bit."

For kids 5 to 8, "I Can Play Guitar" made the list, something Young's son enjoys playing with. Young says, "Yes, he loves that, anything that makes a lot of noise that he can "jam" out to as what he calls it." Another list topper, "Jam Pack Jam."

But just because a toy made the list doesn't mean it will be a sure fire hit with your youngster. Topping the toy list for 8 to 12 year olds is the "Smart Cycle" by Fischer-Price.

But, as Young says, "We thought this was really great for my son and he didn't seem all that excited about it, the Smart Cycle."

And another toy for older kids is also getting some additional thought. Young says, "Oh, my son is in love with this EyeClops bionic eye. He wants that really, really bad and we don't really want to get it for him because it has to hook up to our TV so he can magnify things. So we haven't decided if we're going to go with that one or not."

Meaning while this list is a great place to start, you never know what's going to still be in favor, after the new wears off.

Parents say another way to guarantee kids will like their gifts come Christmas morning is by sticking with brand names they already like. 26 toys in all made the list of top toys and you can find that complete list and the suggested retail prices by going to:,20652,1661548,00.html

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