PennPIRG Education Fund releases ‘Trouble in Toyland’ report on toy safety

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — We’re still a couple of weeks away from the start of what’s considered the holiday shopping season. Researchers behind an annual report want you to stay away from toy hazards when buying for the little ones on your shopping list.

“According to the World Health Organization, toys with sound effects exceeding 100 decibels can actually cause permanent hearing damage in young children,” said Emma Horst-Martz, an advocate with PennPIRG.

In its 35th annual Trouble in Toyland report, Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group identifies nine toy hazards. A big one for toddlers? Small toy pieces like those found in the VTech Drill and Learn Toolbox. How small is too small?

“I just have a regular toilet paper roll tube here and I would drop the screw down through and you can see it moves through easily so that is a choking hazard for kids under three years old,” Horst-Martz said.

Product mislabeling online is another problem. Take, for instance, the Yeebay Interactive Whack-A-Frog game.

“On Amazon it was labeled as appropriate for children as young as two years old but on the game itself, on the box it is labeled for three and above and some of the buttons, the frog parts on the toy, can break off and pose a choking hazard,” said Horst-Martz.

Then there are magnetic toy pieces that can be accidentally swallowed.

“The CPSC estimates that thousands of children have been treated in emergency rooms because of magnets in the past decade,” Horst-Martz told Eyewitness News.

Many other kids have been treated for traumatic injuries while breaking in a new bicycle, skateboard or sled.

“The bottom line is if you’re going to buy a toy with wheels or a toy that moves for any child this holiday season, please buy the helmet,” said Amy Bollinger, RN, Penn State Children’s Hospital Pediatric Trauma and Injury Prevention Program Manager.

More on the Trouble in Toyland report and information is available at PennPIRG’s website.

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