BOSTON (AP) — Cute plastic animals with tiny accessories that pose a choking hazard, Black Panther-inspired claws with the potential to cause facial or eye injuries, and green slime that could be harmful if swallowed: These are just some of the items on an annual list of potentially dangerous toys released Monday by a consumer advocacy group.
“Although intended for fun and entertainment, many toys contain hidden hazards unnecessarily putting children at risk of injury or death,” Boston-based World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc. said in a statement announcing its “10 Worst Toys” of the year.
With parents looking for ways to keep children occupied during the coronavirus pandemic, and with the 2020 Christmas shopping season approaching, toy safety awareness is critical, the group said.
“Shockingly, classic toy dangers, such as small parts, strings, projectiles, toxic substances, rigid materials, and inaccurate warnings and labels, continue to reappear in new generations of toys putting children at risk,” the organization said.
There are an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries to children each year and a child is brought to the emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury, according to WATCH.
The Toy Association, which represents toy manufacturers, called the WATCH list needlessly alarmist.
“By law, all toys sold in the United States must meet 100+ rigorous safety tests and standards,” the association said in a statement. “However, WATCH does not test the toys in its report to check their safety; their allegations appear to be based on their misrepresentation of the mandatory toy standards — and of the priority the toy industry puts on safe and fun play.”
The Toy Association said parents and others should always choose age-appropriate toys, encourage safe play, and make sure they purchase toys from reputable manufacturers and sellers.
Below is The Toy Association’s full statement:
“Each year, W.A.T.C.H.’s dangerous toys list comes out right around holiday shopping time, needlessly frightening parents and caregivers with misinformation. By law, all toys sold in the United States must meet 100+ rigorous safety tests and standards. However, W.A.T.C.H. does not test the toys in its report to check their safety; their allegations appear to be based on their misrepresentation of the mandatory toy standards – and of the priority the toy industry puts on safe and fun play.
“Unable to find product defects on the market as a result of these strict U.S. toy standards and test requirements, W.A.T.C.H. tends to focus on products with safety instructions and warnings, as if responsibly providing safety information to consumers is somehow an indication that a product cannot be safe for use or for sale, when the opposite is true. The first advice we always offer parents – is to choose toys that are appropriate for your child’s age, interests and abilities. Nobody knows your child better than you do – choose toys that fit with your family.
“W.A.T.C.H. looks to gain media attention for its organization at this time of year. However, toymakers and The Toy Association are committed to toy safety year-round. These efforts include providing useful tips for families and caregivers to help them choose age-appropriate toys and ensure safe play.
“The Association reminds parents and caregivers to always purchase toys from reputable stores and online sellers they know and trust. Toys sold by legitimate and known sellers are tested for compliance with the U.S.’s strict toy safety standards, which include stringent limits for lead and other chemicals, a highly effective small parts regulation developed with the help of pediatricians, as well as requirements to ensure sturdiness and reliability of toys, among many other requirements.
“For reliable information on toy safety, families can visit www.PlaySafe.org, The Toy Association’s free resource for parents and caregivers.”