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"Trouble in Toyland" 2016 Report: Spotlight on Recalls

As holiday shoppers hit the mall with gift lists in hand, a new report urges caution when buying children's toys. (nightscream/wikimedia)
As holiday shoppers hit the mall with gift lists in hand, a new report urges caution when buying children's toys. (nightscream/wikimedia)
November 28, 2016

BOSTON -- Surviving the Black Friday shopping rush isn't the only danger lurking this holiday shopping season. A new report is reminding Bay State shoppers to keep toy safety top of mind.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund released its 2016 Trouble in Toyland report, focusing this year on toy recalls. There have been more than 40 recalls of toys and children's products announced since January of 2015, according to U.S. PIRG consumer program advocate Mike Litt. But their research found that over a dozen of the items might still be available to buy.

"The ones that we were still able to find online included those that had exceeded the limits on lead,” Litt said. "There were magnet hazards. They also included chargers and batteries that overheated and could cause burns or fires."

Thanks to the efforts of safety advocates, parents, policymakers and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, toys are safer than ever, Litt said. But he cautions adults to still be vigilant by examing toys for hazards - both those already in the home and those they plan to purchase.

Recall information is also available online at cpsc.gov.

Over the past 30 years, the annual Trouble in Toyland report has contributed to more than 150 recalls, as well as regulatory actions, Litt said. That includes a 2008 law that expanded the scope of the CPSC.

"It gave the commission more tools to speed recalls of dangerous toys,” he explained. "It banned toxic metals and certain phthalates from many types of toys and children's products, and then also required mandatory third party testing of toys and other children's products by manufacturers."

The recalled items listed in the report that are still available online included die-cast metal cars with sharp edges, a "Little Digger" toy that contains excessive lead levels, and a pacifier clip that could break, posing a choking hazard.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA