'Trouble in Toyland' report identifies common dangers in unsafe toys

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group and the U.S. Public Interest Group released the 34th annual Trouble in Toyland report, which identifies dangerous products still for sale in 2019 and provides safety tips for parents and gift-givers.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, there were 251,700 emergency room visits resulting from toys in 2018. Of those reported, 54% were to the head and face area.

This year, the group has highlighted three categories of toys parents should be on the lookout for: detectable dangers, hidden toxins and hazards, and recalled toys.

Detectable dangers are those parents can identify simply from looking at the product.

A few common threats include choking hazards, balloons, loud noises, and magnets.

Toys can be tested for a choking hazard by using an empty toilet paper roll. If the product fits through, it could pose a risk to children 3-years-old and under.

“That’s a really simple way to test at home to make sure that a toy is not a choking hazard,” says Peter Skopec, the WISPIRG Foundation director. “We really recommend to parents that they keep an eye out for small parts.”

Skopec says loud noises can hurt a child’s hearing.

“Sometimes a toy gun or an action figure isn’t just annoying, sometimes it can be dangerous to your child’s hearing as well,” he said. “If it’s too loud for you, it’s probably too loud for a child’s hearing.”

Removing the batteries, putting tape over the speaker, or decreasing the volume can be a simple fix.

In recent years, slime has grown to be a popular children’s product but WISPIRG has found the product contains hidden toxins.

Skopec said of the four slimes tested, all of them contained levels of boron which exceeded the European Union Safety standards for the chemical.

“Consuming medium or high doses of boron can cause nausea, vomiting and even long term health effects for children,” said Skopec. “The U.S. currently has no safety standards for boron in children’s products.”

With the rise in online shopping, many recalled toys are being sold through sites like eBay.

To check if a product you purchased online was recalled, you can enter the information on to this website. The same site also allows someone to report an unsafe product.

To view the report or receive more tips, click here.