"Trouble in Toyland" report lists dangerous toys

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) released their 33rd annual toy safety report on Tuesday. WISPIRG said toys have gotten safer in the last few decades, but there are still potentially dangerous toys on shelves.

"While we’ve made progress over the last decade in getting toxic and dangerous toys off of store shelves, it’s clear that the old hazards continue to put children at risk and that new ones are cropping up as well," said Emma Fisher, an organizer with WISPIRG.

Some toys can be choking hazards, like balloons or toys that have small parts. The report also said toys that are too loud can damage children's hearing.

The report found that slime, a popular toy, has high levels of the chemical boron. If eaten, boron can cause nausea, vomiting and sometimes long-term health problems.

"We’re calling on policymakers to require labeling for children’s products with high boron concentration and to investigate what limit should be set," Fisher said.

A growing trend is the rise of "smart" toys, toys that can connect to the Internet. WISPIRG's report found that these toys can put kids' privacy and security at risk.

"Last year, the FBI issued a stark warning that these toys could put the privacy and safety of children at risk due to the large amount of personal information that may be unwittingly disclosed," Fisher said. "The information collected by smart toys could include recorded conversations within earshot, information about the child’s habits or activities and other personal information like where a child goes to school."

Fisher said parents should keep an eye out for warning labels and choking hazards, but she also said policymakers and retailers should be responsible for keeping dangerous toys out of children's hands.

"Parents shouldn’t have to be detectives, running tests and tests on all the toys they bring home for their children," Fisher said. "We need policymakers, retailers, and manufacturers to have stronger protocol for making sure that unsafe toys are never making it to the shelves."

The Public Interest Research Group has the full report with more safety tips and a list of recalled toys on their website.