Dangerous Toys on Store Shelves

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STATELINE (WIFR) -- Black Friday is quickly approaching, a time when families will be out trying to snag holiday gifts at a bargain including toys. However, there's a warning going out to parents about toys that can be found on many store shelves, and while they look appealing, they could be dangerous.

The Illinois Public Interest Research Group, known as PIRG, released its "Trouble in Toyland" safety survey. One major concern is choking. Even though the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) bans small toy parts for children under three, some of those toys still pose choking hazards.

"We have found that kids choke on toys that according to the CPSC, are legal,” said Anu Dathan with the Illinois PIRG.

The CPSC uses a special cylinder as a choking hazard test. So, if a toy completely fits inside it, it's a hazard. But Illinois PIRG says this should be expanded. They say parents should use something the size of a toilet paper roll instead. That's because some toys, which may not completely fit in the cylinder, still pose a risk to children.

Paula Culvey with SwedishAmerican sees kids who have ingested toys about once a month in the hospital.

"Anything with small parts, a lot of times coins," said Culvey. Her daughter even choked on a coin when she was a kid. "It was scary though," Culvey added.

Another hazard to look out for is loud toys which can lead to hearing loss, and powerful magnetic toys can cause more problems if swallowed, even ripping a child's stomach lining.

There are also toys with high levels of lead that may still be sold because the lead content standard changed after they were put on shelves.

You can find the entire safety report here. The group also provides a mobile friendly, interactive website for tips on safe toy shopping, which you can access here. The office of the Illinois Attorney General has also posted a list of recalled toys that parents can check. You can find that list online at http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/safe_shopping.html.

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