TAMPA, Fla. — A warning for parents – you can still buy toys even though they are recalled.
Ahead of Black Friday, U.S. Rep Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, is highlighting the "Trouble in Toyland" report made by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund. This list has been published for the past 30 years to help keep kids safe during the holiday season.
Toys flagged each year often include items with toxins or choking hazards, like magnets and batteries.
Health experts also joined Castor at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital on Tuesday. Michelle Sterling, BayCare Kids Wellness and Safety specialist, says more people are purchasing things online from third-party retailers.
Sterling says oftentimes those toys are not up to U.S. health standards.
“They may purchase from somewhere where people can list their items and they are not getting a true product," she explained.
While toys continue to be recalled annually, the percentage of actual recalls has declined, according to the report. In 2007, there were 76 recalls, which jumped to 172 just a year later in 2008. But following that, recalls declined to a recent low of only nine recalls in 2020.
There were 14 in 2021, and so far in 2022 through Oct. 31, there have been 26 recalls.
Still, the report says: "Everyone – retailers, toy manufacturers, regulators, lawmakers, consumer advocates and families – needs to do more to protect children."
Here is a list of 10 such recalls from this year:
In February, about 2,600 of the toy were recalled, with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission stating, "The pom-poms can detach from the toy, posing a choking hazard to young children."
In May, about 2,000 of the toys were recalled, with the CPSC stating, “Screws can become loose and/or detach from the xylophone component of the activity tables, posing a choking hazard to young children."
In April, about 46,200 of the boards were recalled, with the CPSC stating, "Due to a manufacturing issue, small parts from the products can come loose, posing a choking hazard to young children."
In June, about 600,000 of the plushies got recalled, with the CPSC stating, "Components of the recalled promotional ducks contain levels of certain phthalates that exceed the federal phthalate content standard.
"A component of the promotional fishing duck also contains a level of lead that exceeds the federal lead content standard. Phthalates and lead are toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health issues."
In June, about 2,700 of the toys were recalled, with the CPSC stating, "Tubes on the Activity Loops toys can detach from the base releasing small plastic rings, posing a small parts choking hazard to children."
In July, about 1,500 of these bins were recalled, with the CPSC stating, "A small dowel can become exposed and detach from the toy box, posing a choking hazard to young children."
In July, about 251,000 of these were recalled, with the CPSC stating, "The fabric playhouses and play tents fail to meet an industry flammability standard for these products, posing a risk of burn injuries to children."
In August, about 28,550 of these toys were recalled, with the CPSC stating, "The ride-on toy can tip forward when a young child is riding it, posing fall and injury hazards to children."
In August, about 8,200 of these desk toys were recalled, with the CPSC stating, "When attached to a crib, a protruding knob on the activity desks can become entangled with clothing on a child, posing an entanglement hazard. The opening in the handle on the desks can also pose a jaw entrapment hazard to children under 18 months."
In October, about 9,300 of these toys were recalled, with the CPSC stating, "The red cube can come apart or detach during use and release the small white ball inside the cube, posing a choking hazard to infants."
With these recalls in mind, the report gives tips for parents and caregivers that have toys laying around:
- Carefully check toys, both when they’re new and every so often to see whether there’s wear and tear.
- When your child gets a new toy, and periodically after that, check whether the toy has been recalled by going to saferproducts.gov.
- Evaluate whether particular toys are appropriate for your children, starting with the minimum age warning label.
- Be leery of toys from unfamiliar sellers or international sellers.
- When researching a toy, check whether the manufacturer has its own, official website.
- Research reviews of a toy.
- Look for labeling on toys that says it’s non-toxic.
- Make sure that anything that’s electric says it’s UL-approved.
- Vintage toys are great for the memories, but be wary of toys made before 2008, when the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act took effect.
- Report incidents involving toys to the CPSC at saferproducts.gov.
For younger children:
- For any toys with plastic film coverings on toys to protect them during shipping, be sure to remove the film.
- Keep small balls, blocks and other toys with small parts out of reach from children younger than 3.
- If you have children or teens in your home, you shouldn’t have tiny magnets, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.
- Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than 8 and keep your ears open for an inflated balloon that pops.
- For children younger than 18 months, keep them away from toys with any strings, straps, or cords longer than 12 inches.
- If there are batteries, especially button batteries, make sure the compartments are secure and can’t be opened by a young child.
- Watch out for painted jewelry, cheap metal or other toys with paint that seems to chip off easily.
For older children:
- For scooters, hoverboards and other riding toys, require your child to wear safety gear – particularly helmets that fit properly, said Dr. Jerri Rose, associate division chief of pediatric emergency medicine, UH-Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.
For those with techy toys:
- If you are thinking of buying your child an internet-connected toy: Research the toy’s potential safety risks before buying.
- Understand all of the toy’s features.
- Look for toys with a physical component to connect it to the internet.
- Read the terms and conditions.
- Supervise playtime, especially with younger kids.
- Turn it off.
- Stay on top of security updates.