Annual ‘Trouble in Toyland’ report released Tuesday

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The Connecticut Public Interest Research Group, also known as ConnPIRG, released their annual “Trouble in Toyland” report Tuesday, ahead of holiday weekend shopping.  The event happened at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford.

The report includes recalled toys that researchers found were still available for sale online, and cautions consumers to watch out for recalled toys that may still be in homes.

Some of those toys include:

  1. MZB Children’s “Light Up” Watches
  2. Bud and Skipit Wheely Cute Pull Toys
  3. 2014 MBX 50 and Tiny Trail Bicycles
  4. Gadget Pencil Cases
  5. Green Tones Monkey Glockenspiel
  6. Aero Spin and Aero Cruz Sky Rover toys
  7. Self Balancing Scooters/Hoverboards
  8. Chewbeads Pacifier clips

Related Content: 2016 Connecticut Public Interest Research Group’s “Trouble In Toyland” report

The report is compiled by the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group.

“ConnPIRG researchers researched on line for the 44 recalled toys to see if they were still available for sale,” said Matthew Frentz, the Campaign Organizer of ConnPIRG. “We found 16 of the 44 toys on websites and that could potentially be from the recalled batches.”

From their list, News 8 found the Green Tones Monkey Glockenspiel still being sold online.  The pink metal note bar is considered to have excessive lead.

ConnPIRG also warned it found on line the Aero Spin and Aero Cruz Sky Rover toys whose USB charger overheats and the Pacifier Clips from Chewbeads whose D-clip can break allowing the beads to come loose and create a choking hazard.  However, Frentz said not every recalled toy was problematic.

“We were pleased to see some of the toys that had been recalled had been repaired and replaced when we purchased them,” said Frentz.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Toy Industry Association contacted News 8 with this statement in response to the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group’s report.

U.S. PIRG calls their annual report “Trouble in Toyland” – but their 2016 report doesn’t indicate any trouble at all. In fact, many of the items previously recalled as a result of ongoing regulatory vigilance and named by the group are juvenile products and NOT toys (e.g. hoverboards, children’s jewelry, pacifier clips, etc.). The inclusion of these products in a supposed “toy” safety report undermines the toy industry’s deep and ongoing commitment to ensuring that toys are among the safest consumer product categories found in the home. U.S. toy safety requirements are among the strictest in the world, with more than 100+ standards and tests in place to ensure that all toys found on store shelves are safe.

Parents and caregivers should always shop at reputable stores and online retailers that they know and trust, and exercise caution when buying toys at flea markets, garage sales, second-hand / thrift stores, etc., as these vendors may not be monitoring for recalled products. Families are also encouraged to stay up-to-date on toy recalls to ensure that all recalled products are kept out of their homes – and out of children’s hands.

Safety is the toy industry’s top priority every day of the year. For information on recalls, toy safety and ways to ensure safe play, families are invited to visit, the Toy Industry Association’s safety resource for parents and caregivers.

The event also delved into other warnings for parents.

First, that some of the recalled toys from the past two years might even be in your home.  Authorities emphasized the importance at looking at the list of recalled items and checking your toys.

Secondly, experts outlined general hazards of every day toys that bring kids into the emergency room over the holidays..

Dr. Jim Parker an Emergency Room physician at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has seen his share of holiday room emergency visits.

“I’ve seen all of these different, creative inappropriate uses of toys result in problems,” said Dr. Parker.

He has seen kids with head injuries from not wearing a helmet during riding toy accidents.  Older kids tend to come in with projectile injuries from shooting toys.

Other children come in choking on balloons, small parts or even magnets that they swallowed.  If the child has swallowed more than one magnet it can cause serious problems.

“You end up with one that moves forward quicker, one that moves slower and the two then connect through bowel wall,” said Dr. Parker.  “They block the bowel from functioning.  They potentially erode through the sides of the bowel.  You wind up with someone who is critically ill with an infection in their abdomen.”

ConnPIRG talked about the test cylinder that the toy industry uses to determine whether a toy is a choking hazard for kids 3 and under.  The organization feels it is too small.
It recommends that parents use a toilet paper roll. It’s bigger. If your toy drops in side of it, then it can pose a choking hazard for your infant or toddler.

Senator Richard Blumenthal was on hand to talk about toy safety and his concern about regulatory agencies like the Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC.  He fears the upcoming administration will defund CPSC which acts as a watchdog agency and works to protect people from hazardous products.

“Here’s a memo to the Trump administration,” said Blumenthal.  “Toy safety matters.  Product safety makes a difference.  People die from unsafe products.  And, children die from unsafe toys.”

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