'Trouble in Toyland' report reveals possible hidden dangers in popular toys

Consumer advocates from across Florida held a virtual news conference Monday to discuss toy safety as the official start to the holiday shopping season approaches.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor join the Florida Consumer Action Network to urge parents to keep in mind not every toy is right for every child.

"Parents really need to be discerning holiday shoppers," Castor said. "We want to give parents and caregivers the tools they need to keep their kids safe."

During the news conference, consumer advocates discussed the annual "Trouble in Toyland" report, which is released by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and tracks toys that may be hazardous to certain children.

Grace Brombach, a consumer watchdog with the organization, says the importance of this list can't be overstated in 2020.

"Parents spending more time at home and children of all ages playing together more often, it's more important now than ever in this pandemic that we're making sure that the toys that we're bringing into our homes are safe," said Brombach.

Experts said the top tip hasn't changed: look out for choking hazards. Brombach, along with Dr. Michelle Sterling with St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, said websites, including Amazon, sometimes have toys listed for the wrong age group.

"You'll see a toy that says that it's for ages one, two or three when technically if you look at the hazard warning label that's on there, it'll tell you that it's actually not for children under three," Sterling said, adding parents can test whether an item is a choking hazard by testing to see if it fits inside a toilet paper roll.

Other dangers include toys with high-powered magnets, small batteries and toys that can reach 100 decibels; all have proven to be harmful to children, experts said.

The U.S. PIRT published its full "Trouble in Toyland" list https://uspirg.org/feature/usp/trouble-toyland