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Consumers urged to use caution when buying toys

Posted by Sarah Showard | Dec 16, 2012 | 0 Comments

Troubleintoyland

Each year the U.S. Public Interest Research Group visits national toy stores, malls and dollar stores from September through November, looking for potentially dangerous toys being sold. The independent consumer group also examines recall and other regulatory notices for its annual “Trouble in Toyland” report. Investigators focus on toys that pose a potential toxic, choking, strangulation or noise hazard.

Lead, phthalates and magnets continue to be hazards in toys, according to the 2012 report. Especially worrisome are magnet toys, including the Buckyball, that already are the focus of court cases, the group said. The neodymium iron boron magnets in these toys are so strong they can severely pinch fingers; they can also cause severe internal damage if swallowed. An estimated 1,700 emergency room cases nationwide between 2009 and 2011 involved the ingestion of such magnets – more than 70 percent of the cases involving children between 4 and 12.

The 2012 “Trouble in Toyland” report also warned consumers to beware of small toy parts, small balls, marbles and balloons that can choke children. More than 200 children died from choking between 1990 and 2011. Noisy toys can damage a child's hearing, the group says. A Dora the Explorer guitar tested by investigators exceeded the recommended limit for continuous exposure of 85 decibels, which can cause gradual hearing loss.

For toy safety tips, visit www.toysafety.mobi.

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About the Author

Sarah Showard

Sarah Showard graduated from the University of Maryland in 1985, Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English-Linguistics and a Certification in Women's Studies. She then graduated from New York University School of Law in 1988. Sarah began practice initially as an insurance defense attorney, and has been representing plaintiffs since 1990. Sarah has a son, Benjamin, who recently graduated from The Gregory School and will attend ASU in the fall, with future plans to attend law school and eventually join Showard Law Firm. In her spare time Sarah enjoys horseback riding and spending time in Sonoita with her husband Peter.

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