‘Trouble in Toyland’ report brings up concerns with slime, magnets

A leading public health advocacy group is once again warning parents about potential dangers with toys ahead of the holiday season.

The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) announced the findings of its annual “Trouble in Toyland” report Thursday morning.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than a quarter-million emergency room patients were treated in 2017 for injuries related to toys. Sixty-nine percent of those injuries happened to children 12 years old or younger.

. @WISPIRG says slime and small magnets are among the toys/parts that can be dangerous for kids this holiday. You can check out the #TroubleinToyland report HERE: https://t.co/SHlLJN7RFC pic.twitter.com/M3aHHfpgdF

— Dannika Lewis (@DannikaLewis) November 21, 2019

WISPIRG Foundation director Peter Skopec said choking hazards continue to be a major issue. He demonstrated how if a game piece, figurine or other toy part can fit through a paper towel roll, it should not be given to young children.

Skopec also warned parents of small magnets that can be found in toys like construction sets and educational tiles. Skopec said those can cause serious harm or even death if they’re ingested.

“Unfortunately, safety standards for unsafe magnets were overturned in 2016, and we believe that the Consumer Product Safety Commission should pose a new safety standard for these dangerous magnets,” Skopec explained. “In the meantime, we recommend parents keep magnets away from their kids.”

Toxic materials continue to be a concern as well, Skopec said. Specifically, WISPIRG tested various slime products that are popular among children and found each one had boron levels that exceeded the recommendations set by the European Union.

“The U.S. currently has no safety standards for boron in children’s products, and so without a warning label, parents often won’t know to keep that product from their kids or watch carefully that their kids aren’t ingesting these types of products,” Skopec said.

Skopec also pointed out the risks with buying toys on sites like EBay, where potentially recalled items can be sold without as much regulation or warning.

“So before using a pre-owned toy, something that you may have bought through EBay or another seller at a garage sale or something that was handed down by another family member, we recommend that parents go to saferproducts.gov to check whether or not that product was actually recalled,” Skopec said.

The Toy Association responded to PIRG’s most recent findings with a statement, saying in part that the “Trouble in Toyland” report “needlessly frightens parents with baseless claims.” It goes on to state:

” U.S. toy safety requirements include more than 100 standards and tests to ensure that toys are safe. These standards go above and beyond those for other consumer products. There are strict limits for lead and other chemicals in toys, internationally emulated limits on sound level output, a highly effective small parts regulation that was developed with the help of pediatricians, and strict standards prohibiting the use of magnets in any toy part that is small enough to be swallowed. ”

The Toy Association adds that safety is a top priority during the holidays and throughout the entire year. It suggests going to PlaySafe.org to check for recalls and safety tips.

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