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12/16/2013 6:00:00 AM
Group warns not all toys safe for kids
Some playthings are toxic, others are choking hazards

KINGMAN - The season for toy shopping has arrived, but which are the best to encourage young minds and which ones are potentially dangerous?

The Arizona Public Interest Research Group recently issued its "Trouble in Toyland" report, which lists a number of toys to avoid this season. In addition, the Toy Industry Association has plenty of tips for parents for selecting the appropriate toy.

According to its report, the Public Interest Research Group shopped a number of national stores and malls and focused on toys that may have toxic chemicals, or pose a potential choking, strangulation or noise hazard to children.

"Consumers should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. However, until that is the case, parents and other consumers need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys," said Shaina Shay, a representative for the Arizona's chapter of the Public Interest Research Group's Education Fund.

PIRG found two toys that exceed the federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Acts for levels of lead in toys - the Captain America soft shield sold by Disguise Inc. and a set of dress up rings sold by Greenbrier International.

The Captain America shield tested for lead at 2,900 parts per million and the rings came in at around 200 ppm. The Safety Act prohibits toys from containing more than 100 ppm of lead.

It also places limits on a number of other chemicals, including antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, mercury, selenium and certain phthalates - a substance added to plastics to make them soft.

PIRG also warned parents not to purchase a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pencil case sold by Innovative Designs, the Lamaze Take and Tidy Activity Mat manufactured by TOMY, and the Monster High Skelita Halloween costume made by Rubie's Costume Co. According to the PIRG, all three items contained levels of chemicals and phthalates that exceeded the safety act's levels. The organization recommends parents check a toy's packaging for a list of contents and avoid all toys that contain PVC plastics.

The organization also suggested that parents avoid the Sonic Sound Sizzlers Noise Magnets manufactured by JA-RU. The two elliptical magnets make a sizzling sound when banged together. According to the PIRG, the magnets are very powerful and nearly small enough to be swallowed. The toy is labeled for ages 8 and up.

One swallowed magnet may not be a problem, according to Public Interest Group's Toyland report, but two magnets can attract each other in the stomach or intestine, creating a hole or blockage.

The group also recommended parents avoid purchasing the following toys because of possible choking hazards: princess wands that include small beads made by Greenbrier International; beading kits made by Greenbrier International; the Littlest Pet Shop's horse, Sunil Nevla and seal and dolphin play sets, because the animals' heads can come off and the body presents a choking hazard; Gobble, Gobble Guppies by Swimways; the Super Play Food Set by Geoffrey; and the Fisher Price Loving Family Outdoor Barbeque.

PIRG also recommends avoiding the Littlest Pet Shop Candy Swirl Dreams Collection blind bag toys. These are small collector toys that come in little opaque bags, so the toy is a surprise when the child opens the bag.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 16, 2013
Article comment by: another safety warning

Parks and playgrounds can also be dangerous as children can skin knees sliding down slides, fall off swings and trip when running. Video games are the safest way to entertain children, especially the violent ones. We can't let them learn responsible common sense until after college.

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