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Cross Hazardous Toys Off the Holiday Shopping List

Parents should avoid buying toys with small parts that can present a choking hazard to small children. (Thomas/Flickr)
Parents should avoid buying toys with small parts that can present a choking hazard to small children. (Thomas/Flickr)
November 27, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. -- This Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday shopping season, you might take some time to read labels and carefully consider the toys you buy for the children in your life.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has released its annual "Trouble in Toyland" report. The list of toy safety hazards includes some of the usual concerns over small parts and lead content, but new technology raises new questions.

The doll "My Friend Cayla" is on the list; it has Bluetooth capability that PIRG's Kristen Carver said is cause for concern.

"Your child can ask it questions, and it talks back to you," Carver said. "It has an unsecured Bluetooth connection. Anybody could really access it and could potentially listen in on things that are going on in your home."

The FBI recently issued a warning against toys that include unsecured technology, and the doll is banned in Germany. The company has insisted in public statements the doll is safe.

PIRG also found high levels of lead in some fidget spinners sold at Target, although the retailer said it has since removed them from its shelves.

Carver also highlighted problems with toys found in dollar stores that had conflicting information on their packaging.

"They had misleading labels,” she said. "So, they had labels that said they're 'not for children under eight,' however they also had a 'three-plus' label."

She added magnets and button batteries present extra concerns since, in addition to being choking hazards, they can cause severe damage to a child's digestive system and take extra time to be discovered in their bodies.

To make sure smaller toys don't present a choking hazard to young children, Carver recommended using a toilet paper roll. Any toy or part that fits inside the roll could get lodged in a child's throat.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - SD