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Report: "Bad Toys" Show Up On MT Store Shelves

December 11, 2006

Helena, MT - Buying toys from even the most well-known companies is no guarantee of toy safety, according to the author of this year's "Ten Worst Toys" list. Examples of toys that are hazardous to children are featured every year, and they're easy to find on Montana store shelves, according to attorney and list author James Swartz. He says this year's offenders look like the unwelcome "ghosts of Christmas past," with toys recalled in previous years showing up again. The culprits include traditional pull-toys with long cords, which, Swartz notes, can be a strangulation hazard.

"Not enough attention is being paid to these safety issues, and to the lessons of the past, and that's really a concern to us."

Swartz says even big-name toy companies like Fisher Price are on the "worst" list this year. He describes toys on the list like a wooden bow and arrow set without proper protective tips, a Superman lamp with an electrocution risk, and dolls for babies with small parts that come off easily, creating a choking hazard. Some toy companies have responded that appropriate warnings are listed on the packaging.

Swartz adds that the list has been compiled for 34 years, and there's never a problem finding dangerous toys every year.

"Clearly, the system isn't working. The self-policing isn't working, the voluntary standards aren't working. So there needs to be more done by the government; more attention paid by the manufacturers."

The list of "Ten Worst Toys" can be found online, at www.toysafety.org.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MT