Recently, the OSPIRG (Oregon Stident Public Interest Research Group) released their 25th annual Trouble in Toyland report which summarizes recent efforts to make toys safer for kids, giving special attention to improvements for toy safety standards and existing hazards and risks in toy stores.
Among their observations were toys high in antimony, a carcinogenic agent. Scientists say that it doesn’t matter how much lead is in a toy; as lead exposure can cause lowered IQ and behavioral problems.
Phthalates were also found in certain toys. Phthalates are known to trigger reproductive and developmental problems in kids. Soft plastic or PVC plastic may very well contain these.
The report also noted the presence of choking hazards, which without fail comes up each year in the study. In this light, OSPIRG is calling out to everyone to sign a petition at www.toysafety.net to be submitted to the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) for improved standards for the choke testing of toys.
“Overall, manufacturers and toy retailers are doing a good job of marketing and labeling small balls, balloons, small toys and toys with small parts. Choking on small parts, small balls and balloons remains a leading cause of death and injuries. Between 1990 and 2009, at least 198 children died after choking or asphyxiating on a toy or toy part; two children died in 2009 alone,” the report mentions.
Parents are encouraged to be more vigilant and cautious when it comes to choosing toys as gifts this Chirstmas, but are also reassured that many toys have become safer playtime tools for kids since the previous years.
The following are some guidelines issued by the OSPIRG when purchasing toys for babies and toddlers this holiday season: • Uninflated balloons are potential choking hazards for kids below 8 years old. • Toys with small parts or marbles are not intended for kids below 3 years old. • Toys with strings or pull cords, as well as clothes with drawstrings and ties pose a strangulation risk for young kids.