Toy Safety Warning Issued for Holiday Shoppers

Consumer Safety groups are releasing their annual dangerous toy survey this week, just in time for the holiday shopping season. The U-S Public Interest Group is warning parents to think twice this year before they buy gifts for kids.

Thousands of children have ended up in emergency rooms around the country after accidents with toys that aren't safe. Statistics from the Public Interest Research organization indicate more than 150,000 children, under age 15, were hospitalized last year as a result of toy related injuries. Sixteen died, mostly due to choking accidents.

Advocacy groups warn some of the toys on the list are old standards, like latex balloons, as well as newer gadgets like yo-yo water balls. Both are described as a potential choking hazard. U-S PIRG says yo-yo water balls should be banned. The liquid-filled balls are attached to stretchy cords that are used to swing them overhead like a lasso.

Rose Garr with the U.S. Public Interest Research group says, "Watch out for toys that have small parts, small balls, anything that can fit in a child's windpipe. Choking is really a serious hazard and making sure your toys don't have those small parts is very important." Garr says consumers should also be careful about toys that are labeled toxic free, because not all those toys are really toxic free.

Noise is another factor. U-S PIRG says hearing is key to a child's development and is easily damaged. Researchers point to things like toy electric guitars that appear to exceed voluntary standards. Garr says toys making sounds that can reach or exceed 100 decibels can damage a child's hearing.

"Thing" Hands come out of the movie Fantastic 4 and the group WATCH says they are on the top ten dangerous toy list. Also on the list are Air Kicks Kickaroos Anti-Gravity Boots, Camouflage Water Bomb Fun Kit, The Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Energy Beam Blaster, Animal Alley Ponies, Fisher Price's Little Mommy Bath Baby Doll, Baby Serena, Baby I'm Yours, City Blocks by IQ Preschool, Splatmatic Splat Paint ball Shooter and the Lord of the Rings, Return of the King Crossbow Set.

Thousands of toys are on the market, each promising to educate or entertain children. Unfortunately, not every toy is safe. Toy buyers can help protect children from injury by being careful and watchful shoppers. To see a list of what toys could be harmful and to find other toy safety advice for parents, grandparents, care givers and toy buyers go to www.toysafety.net.