CalPIRG releases report on dangerous toys of 2012

November 20, 2012 6:20:01 PM PST
An unfortunate new twist has been added to the concerns about children playing with dangerous toys. Choking remains the number one risk for children playing with toys. But a new report from the California Public Interest Research Group, CalPIRG, points out teenagers and young adults have been known to play with a novelty item that could hurt them too.

An average of 10 kids a year have died from choking incidents over the last two decades and now a new hazard has recently emerged. Little items intended for adults are getting in the hands of children. Michael Cabana, M.D., is professor of pediatrics at U.C. San Francisco.

"You think that it would be only toddlers, but it's also teenagers that are in some of the cases showing up," said Cabana.

The magnetic objects are intended as stress relievers and ornaments for desk tops. But when swallowed, can be extremely hazardous.

"They can be the size of peas and if they're ingested, it's not immediately fatal, but they can lead to complications and these complications can lead to problems that may be fatal down the line," said Cabana.

The doctor says a good rule of thumb is to keep anything that can fit inside a toilet paper roll away from kids.

Adding to the hazard are fake tongue piercings using magnets strong enough to stick together, even through skin. There have been 1,700 cases nationwide involving magnets in last two years.

The Toy Industry Association doesn't disagree. They say, "Toys that contain small magnets are already regulated by federal law. The magnets they're talking about are meant for adults and should never been given to children."

The National Institute on Deafness recommends continuous sound be kept under 65 decibels. But research by CalPIRG found the Dora Tunes Guitar from Fisher-Price puts out audio levels that hit 90 decibels.

Fisher-Price told us by phone, "We have also worked closely with established audiologists to confirm that these standards are safe and appropriate for children based on sound science."

CalPIRG also found lead at levels above legal standards in about one percent of the toys tested.

"We found that this item had 180 parts per million of lead in the paint. The current standard, as of August 2011, is 100 parts per million," said Jon Fox from CalPIRG.

The item was purchased at a National Dollar Store, but the manufacturer was not clearly labeled on the product and could not be reached.

You can read the full report here.


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