Don't put a Grinch under the tree this year

November 24, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
Consumer groups say overall, toys are safer this year, but problems remain. Heading into the Christmas season, the North Carolina Public Interest Research Group released its annual report on toy hazards Tuesday.It says while a lot has been done to screen for toxic lead in toy paint, there are still some hazards out there. The biggest risk is often at flea markets, dollar, or discount stores that specialize in cheap imports.

"There's nothing worse than having to tell a parent that a potentially avoidable injury occurred to their child. It's catastrophic. The guilt is insurmountable." Offered Dr. Courtney Mann, a toy safety advocate.

The NCPIRG says children exposed to lead can suffer lowered IQ, delayed mental and physical development and even death. This year, researchers say they went to just a few stores and found children’s toys or jewelry containing high levels of lead or lead paint.

The group says instead of going for the colorful packaging, simple toys for kids are often a better alternative.

Do they really need fancy painted, potentially lead toxic toys? Are they just as happy with some wooden blocks or maybe some constructive play? I think sometimes we tend to overdo, just because we have access to these toys now," Mann offered.

In addition to lead, there is also the choking hazard from small toys.

"If a toy fits through this [toilet paper] tube, it is too small for children under the age of three," explained Ashley Chase with NCPIRG.

For more information, and to read the NCPIRG report, go to this link (.pdf)


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