Dangerous Toys On NJ Store Shelves, Report Finds [AUDIO]
A warning for parents as you head out Black Friday shopping. Toxic and dangerous toys are sitting on New Jersey store shelves, according to New Jersey Public Interest Research Group's 27th annual Trouble in Toyland report.
It reveals the results of laboratory testing on toys for lead, cadmium and phthalates, all of which have been proven to have serious adverse health impacts on the development of young children. The survey also found small toys that pose a choking hazard, extremely loud toys that threaten children's hearing, and toy magnets that can cause serious injury.
The Trouble in Toyland report also includes a list of dangerous toys that surveyors found on toy store shelves. The list includes a dangerous magnet toy, a bowling game that is a choking hazard and a cell phone rattle that is harmful to little ears.
"We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. However, until that's the case, parents need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys," said Peter Skopec, Program Associate at NJPIRG.
"Often parents may have expectation that if a toy is being sold in a store or online it must have been inspected for safety, however, that is not always the case," said Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd. "I thank NJPIRG for bringing potential health hazards in toys to consumers' attention so they can make informed choices about the gifts they buy for children."
For 27 years, the NJPIRG Trouble in Toyland report has offered safety guidelines for purchasing toys for small children and provided examples of toys currently on store shelves that pose potential safety hazards. The group also provides an interactive website with tips for safe toy shopping that consumers can access on their smartphones at www.toysafety.mobi.
"As a nurse who worked in the pediatric ICU for a number of years, I can tell you that there is nothing worse than looking into the eyes of a distraught parent," said Abbondanza. "We must be sure that toys don't pose hazards to our children and grandchildren."
"The day after Christmas is when we see a spike in emergency room visits for children, mainly because of choking hazards on balls, balloons, small parts of toys," she added.
"As a Pediatric Emergency physician, I am well aware of emergencies involving babies, children and toys, particularly during the Christmas holiday," said John A. Brennan, MD, MPH, President and CEO of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children's Hospital of New Jersey. "I commend NJPIRG for bringing attention to this important topic and for helping all of us become aware of toys that have the potential to harm children."
Skopec said parents and consumers can perform the 'toilet paper' test at home to check for possible choking hazards.
"If an object fits inside that tube, its unsafe for children under age three."