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Daily Newscasts

Before You Hit the Stores: Check the Toy Gift List for Safety

November 27, 2009

BOSTON - Almost 5 million toys have been recalled this year, and yet dangers still lurk on toy shelves in New England as holiday shoppers fill their carts this weekend. This year's "10 Worst Toys" report from World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) finds it has been an active year for toy recalls, with a lot of focus on lead and toxic risks.

Attorney James Swartz says the 2009 WATCH list mostly involves strangulation, choking and projectile hazards for toys - some of them sold as "appropriate for all ages."

"The 'rugged mini' on the list and the 'mini babies in the bathtub' - these are sold for babies. Their small parts hazards or puncture hazards aren't evident when you look at the toy."

A "Curious George" counting book, "X-Men" action figure and a Disney rocket launcher also made the "worst toys" list this year. Such familiar names on toy packaging can mislead consumers, who perceive those products to be safer, Swartz warns. In the past two years, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has recorded 10 deaths of children who choked on toy parts.

Some toy companies have responded to the listing with updated safety information; in previous years, listing of other toys has resulted in safety recalls. Swartz says he's encouraged by new policies being considered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission that would give the agency more 'teeth' to go after companies selling dangerous toys.

"In the meantime, there is certainly a lot of repetition going on in terms of the types of hazards we're finding out on the shelves."

This is the 37th year the list has been compiled. The full list of hazardous toys is available at

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA