The 31st annual "Trouble in Toyland" survey by the Maryland Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) is out. The report details toys posing a potential health risk to your child, and it’s the list every parent needs to look at before doing their holiday shopping.
“Fourty-four toys that have been recalled this year, which actually amounts to 35 million toy parts or units of toys that have been recalled in just over a year,” said Juliana Bilowich, the public health organizer with Maryland PIRG.
PIRG researchers found that the toys posed a number of hazards, choking topped the list.
Dr. Adnan Bhutta is the head of the pediatric critical care medicine at the University of Maryland Children's Hospital and is one of the many doctors who treat children suffering a toy injury.
“There's lots of toys around the house, lots of new toys around the house and so it certainly seems to be an upswing in these events around the holidays,” Dr. Bhutta said.
He recalls one incident where a child too young to play with a Lite Brite swallowed one of the pieces.
“We did not know, but she had developed a severe case of pneumonia to the extent that she needed to be on ECMO, which is a heart lung bypass machine for two weeks,” said Dr. Bhutta.
His advice to parents is to not let a child put a toy in their mouth and to make sure they're only playing with age appropriate ones.
“No one thinks it's going to happen to them but like I said, I've had to do the Heimlich on three of my four kids so it can happen to anybody,” Dr. Bhutta said.
One of the toys on the list is the Green Tones Monkey Glockenspiel. Researchers found unsafe levels of lead in the pink metal note bar. They also found that the toy with the recalled tracking number is still being sold online.
A main finding of the report was that even though a toy was recalled, it didn't mean that it was off shelves or that a buyer was made aware of the recall after their purchase.
“Sixteen of those 44 toys were still available for sale at the time of this report,” said Bilowich. "While car owners can receive recall alerts and letters sent to their home addresses found through VIN numbers for example, that's not usually the case for toys."
And for the increasing number of people doing their shopping online, Bilowich said the regulations in stores aren't always the same for virtual retailers.
“It's a largely unregulated area, whereas toys that are on toy shelves might have gone through more stringent regulations, online stores are different. So, parents really need to be cautious when they buy toys online and check the recall lists before they purchase those toys because that toy might have been recalled already,” she said.