Healthy Family | Home Safety | Health and Wealth | Relationship Issues | Career Advice | Growing Family
Get the SixWise e-Newsletter FREE!
Google Web
Free Newsletter Subscription
Get the Web's Most trusted & Informative Health, Wealth, Safety & More Newsletter -- FREE!


Share Email to a Friend Print This

The 10 Most Dangerous Toys


Last year, in response to an unprecedented number of recalls for toys and other children’s products, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

CPSIA was supposed to create more protection against toxins like lead and phthalates in toys, and improve surveillance of imports. It also gave the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) more tools to hold corporations accountable for unsafe products and make recalls faster.

Choking on small parts, balls and balloons is the leading cause of toy-related deaths and injuries.

However, several consumer groups believe the Act did not go far enough, and 2009 may be just as bad a year for toys as 2008, 2007 and before. For instance, there is still no government agency that tests toys for safety before they’re put on the market.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) had this to day:

“ … there is no magic wand to rehabilitate the tattered product safety net. Considering the 15,000 products under its regulation, the CPSC remains a very small agency with a very big job to do. Tough new bans on lead and phthalates are a good step in the right direction, but there are tens of thousands of toxic chemicals in our children’s lives. We continue to learn more about the relationship of toxic chemicals to chronic diseases. More must be done to protect our families from toxic chemicals.”

The 2009 Trouble in Toyland Report

PIRG’s 2009 Trouble in Toyland Report is an annual survey of toy safety, geared toward providing parents safety guidelines to use when purchasing toys for small children. For this year’s report, PIRG researchers visited numerous national chain toy stores and other retailers in September and October 2009 to identify potentially dangerous toys, and analyzed CPSC notices of recalls to identify trends in toy safety.

The following three categories of toy hazards were the focal point, and their key findings were as follows:

1. Choking Hazards: Choking on small parts, balls and balloons is the leading cause of toy-related deaths and injuries. “Between 1990 and 2007, at least 196 children died after choking or asphyxiating on a toy or toy part; three children died in 2008 alone,” PIRG reports. They continue:

“We found toys for children under 3 with small parts and toys with small parts for children under 6 without the required choke hazard warning label.

Our analysis of recalls and other actions taken by the CPSC from January 1- November 10, 2009 revealed that choking hazards were the leading cause of such actions. In 2009, 5.3 million toys and other children’s products have been pulled from store shelves due to choking hazards.”

2. Loud Toys: “Almost 15 percent of children ages 6 to 17 show signs of hearing loss,” PIRG states. “We found that toys currently on store shelves may not meet the standards for appropriately loud toys; in fact, some toys we tested exceeded 85 decibels when measured at close range.”

Current safety standards set a loudness threshold for most toys at 85 decibels, and toys intended for use “close to the ear” is set at 65 dB.

3. Lead in Toys: Lead is toxic to the brain and central nervous system, and is particularly dangerous for children. CPSIA bans lead in any toys, jewelry or other products for use by children under 12, with a 300 ppm limit as of August 2009, and 100 ppm by August 2011. However, PIRG found:

“So far in 2009, CPSC has recalled nearly 1.3 million toys or other children’s products for violations of the lead paint standard. The CPSC has recalled an additional 102,700 toys and other children’s products for violation of the 300 ppm lead standard.

Some children’s toys and jewelry may contain high levels of lead. In one case, we found a piece of jewelry that contained 71% lead by weight. We also found toys that exceed the CPSIA’s lead paint standards.”

The 10 Most Dangerous Toys

PIRG found toys with choking hazards, dangerously loud noises and high levels of lead in stores this season. Keep reading to find out how to make sure those toys are not under your tree on Christmas morning.

Since 1973, the annual  "10 Worst Toys" list from World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H) has identified toys with the potential to cause childhood injuries, and even death.

Like PIRG, World Against Toys Causing Harm also identified potentially dangerous toys on store shelves this season. W.A.T.C.H.’s “10 Worst Toy” list is a hands-on tool for parents, raising awareness of the different types of hazards to look out for while holiday shopping. We recommend you keep this list with you while you shop …

  1. Disney-Pixar Wall-E Foam Rocket Launcher – potential for eye and other impact injuries

  2. Moon Board Pogo Board – potential for head and impact injuries

  3. Curious Baby Curious George “Counting – My First Book of Numbers” – potential choking injuries

  4. The Dark Knight Batman Figure – potential for blunt impact and penetration injuries

  5. X-Men Origins Slashin’ Action Wolverine – potential for eye and other impact injuries

  6. Lots to Love Babies “mini nursery” – potential for choking injuries

  7. Just Kidz Junior Musical Instruments – potential for choking injuries

  8. CAT “rugged mini” – potential for puncture wound injuries

  9. Pucci Pups Maltese – potential for strangulation and aspiration injuries

  10. Spy Gear Viper-Blaster – potential for eye injuries

How to be a Safe Toy Shopper This Season

We know you likely have at least a few little ones on your holiday shopping list this year, so how can you be sure the toys you buy are safe?

Always examine toys carefully before you make a purchase. CPSC also has a web site you can check to keep an eye out for toy hazard recalls.

And, be sure to keep these top toy hazards from W.A.T.C.H. in mind as you shop.

Watch Out for …

  • Toys Marketed On The Internet, without warnings, instructions or age recommendations posted on the website.

  • Battery-Operated Toys For Children Under 8 Years Of Age since batteries may leak, overheat and explode.

  • Toys With "Fur" Or "Hair", including dolls and stuffed animals, that can be ingested and aspirated by oral age children.

  • Toys With Small Removable Attachments at the end of laces and strings (e.g., bells, knobs, etc.).

  • Projectile Toys, including dart guns, sling shots, and pea-shooters which shoot objects and can cause eye injuries and often blindness.

  • Toys With Pointed Tips, And Blunt Or Sharp Edges that could crush, cut or puncture children's skin.

  • Toys With Strings Longer Than 6 Inches, which could strangle small children.

  • Any Crib Or Playpen Toys that are to be strung across cribs or playpens. This type of toy has resulted in strangulation deaths and injuries.

  • Toys Marketed With Other Product Lines, such as food, clothing, books, cassettes and videos, which could have dangerous designs and are often sold with no warnings, instructions or age recommendations.

  • Toys Composed Of Flammable Material, which will readily ignite when exposed to heat or flame.

  • Realistic Looking Toy Weapons including guns, dart guns, Ninja weaponry, swords, toy cleavers, knives, and crossbows, which promote violence.

  • Toys That Require Electricity to function and do not have step-down transformers to reduce risk of shock and electrocution.

  • Toys With Small Parts that can be swallowed or aspirated, causing choking.

  • Long-Handled Toys For Children Up To 4 Years Of Age due to a tendency of such children to place these toys in their mouths and choke.

  • Toys With Toxic Surfaces Or Components that have the potential to be ingested or cause skin irritations (e.g., some children's' play make up kits have components that contain ferrocyanide, a known poison).

Looking for Even More Shopping Tips This Season?

NOW is the Time to Take Unfair Advantage of Today’s Hottest, Healthiest, Holiday Deals … so be sure you don’t miss these insider articles on how to get your hands on this season’s hottest gifts, for less!

9 Shocking Shopping Secrets You Want to Know Now!

What NOT to Do When Shopping for Holiday Gifts: 11 Key Steps

5 Ways to Save BIG This Year Before the BEST GIFTS are SOLD OUT!

Recommended Reading

155,000 Toys Recalled Due to Choking Hazards: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Toys and Safety

How to Choose the Right Gifts for Other People's Babies and Kids


W.A.T.C.H. 2009 10 Worst Toys List

W.A.T.C.H. Toy Hazards to Watch Out For List Trouble in Toyland: The 24th Annual Survey of Toy Safety November 24, 2009

To get more information about this and other highly important topics, sign up for your free subscription to our weekly "Be Safe, Live Long & Prosper" e-newsletter.

With every issue of the free newsletter, you’ll get access to the insights, products, services, and more that can truly improve your well-being, peace of mind, and therefore your life!

Share Email to a Friend Print This