Trouble in Toyland report spotlights dangerous playthings

November 20, 2018

Thanksgiving week typically marks the start of the holiday shopping season, but the state wing of a national consumer group is warning parents to steer clear of certain toys for their little ones this year.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Public Research Interest Group released its annual “Trouble in Toyland” report, listing toys that aren’t safe for a variety of reasons.

This year, the group surveyed 40 toys and found 15 with issues, including the expected — those with small parts that can be deemed choking hazards — and also some new concerns, such as popular slime toys that have high concentrations of the chemical boron. Locally, the report was unveiled at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, by members of ConnPIRG, the state branch of the group, and medical professionals.

“With hundreds of new toys hitting the market every year, our survey of only 40 toys suggests there may be other potentially dangerous toys slipping through existing protections or worthy of further investigation,” the report reads. “This report not only lists the potentially dangerous toys that we found this year, but also describes why and how the toys could harm children.”

For instance, the report found six different slime toys that contained high levels of boron, which can be hazardous if ingested. Products that contain small doses of the chemical — less than 3.68 parts per million — aren’t considered harmful.

But high doses of the compound can cause nausea and vomiting and have long-term effects. Some of the toys spotlighted by Trouble in Toyland include Kanaroos Original Super Cool Slime, sold on Amazon, which contains roughly 4,700 parts per million of boron.

Other toys spotlighted in the report include Hatchimals Fabula Forest, which has small parts that are a choking hazard for young children, as well as several varieties of balloons, also seen as choking hazards.

Between 2001 and 2016, there have been a total of 290 toy-related deaths in children younger than 15, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Deaths have gone down, from 25 in 2001 to 7 in 2016, largely due to increased consumer protections.

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