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Choking hazards, loud toys to avoid

Hearing experts say a toy should be less than 80 dB, but the Dora tunes Guitar tests at 85 dB+. (WashPIRG 27th Annual Toy Safety Report)

Toys with tiny parts, toys that make too much noise, toys with toxic chemicals. All have made the list of this year’s most dangerous toys.

The 27th annual Trouble in Toyland from the Washington Public Interest Research Group found several toys for sale that pose a choking hazard, a common and ongoing concern. WashPIRG advocate Micaele Preskill recommended parents use a toilet paper roll to gauge the safety of toys with small parts.

“Anything that can easily fit right through an empty toilet paper roll is too small to have around children under the age of three,” she advised.

Toys with small, powerful magnets that a pose a danger if swallowed remain available for purchase. Snake Eggs made by GreenBrier International Inc. was included in the report.

The report concedes that there has been progress in protecting children from dangerous toys. But Preskill says many threats remain.

“The fact that we are still seeing injury and death from the same hazards means that there’s a real strong need for stronger regulations to make sure that our marketplace is safer,” said Preskill.

Another continuing concern highlighted by the report is extremely loud toys, such as toy cell phones, which can threaten children’s hearing. Warning labels are not required but many toys, including plastic guitars, phones and car keys produce unsafe decibel levels. The National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders recommends toys not exceed 80 db.

Some of those toys include: Dora Tunes Guitar made by Fisher-Price, Hon & Rumble Wheel made by ToyState, FunKey Car Keys made by Maison Joseph Battat.

The WashPIRG report also found toys with high levels of toxic substances still on stores shelves. Those toys include: the Dora backpack made by Global Design Concepts Inc. and Morphobot made by GreenBrier International Inc.

The report warns that while the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission is doing a good job watchdogging toy safety, parents and gift-givers need to beware of safety hazards while shopping during the holidays.

Download the ‘Trouble in Toyland’ annual survey

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