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Experts Warn Parents About Dangerous Toys

Nov 27, 2013

The California Public Interest Research Group and Children's Hospital Los Angeles have issued a warning to holiday shoppers: some of the toys on store shelves can be deadly for children.

Dr. Jeffrey Upperman, a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, said his facility has “about 72,000 visits per year, many of them due to casual behaviors [by which] adults put children at risk by having them play with types of toys that we see here, that are choking hazards, that are swallowing hazards, et cetera," KABC-TV Los Angeles reports.

Austin Price of the Public Interest Research Group says toy shoppers should consider what the toys are made of, and be aware of toxins like lead that can be in the paint. Since babies and toddlers tend to put things in their mouths, wood and cloth are safer materials. The toy’s size is also important because of choking hazards. Price recommends the tube test: if the toy or any part of it fits into a toilet-paper roll tube, it’s too small to be safe for a young child, according to ABCNews. This warning also includes trims and buttons and other small parts that can become detached and pose a choking hazard.

Magnet sets are a key concern. High-powered magnet sets are often sold as desktop items and are not really suitable as children’s toys. Swallowed magnets can clamp together inside a child’s intestinal tract and cause organ damage. Noisy toys can damage ears, potentially even causing hearing loss in young children. Toys with long cords and rope can be a strangulation hazard, while toys that have sharp edges, for example, can injure eyes and soft tissue.

ABCNews recommends teaching children about toy hazards so that they can start to assume some of the burden of watching out for their own safety. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website provides information on dangerous and recalled toys, for those seeking that kind of information.

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