Watch out for dangerous and toxic toys this holiday season. The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group Foundation's (WISPIRG) 33rd annual "Trouble in Toyland" report found toxic amounts of boron in slime products, and a failure by Amazon to appropriately label choking hazards.
Boron can cause nausea, vomiting and other health issues, while choking hazards are a leading cause of toy-related deaths. Find the full list of potentially dangerous toys at ToySafetyTips.org.
"Parents shouldn't have to play detective, or do lab-tests on toys to make sure they're safe for kids. But in 2018, we're still finding hazards in some of the most popular toys," said Emma Fisher, WISPIRG Foundation organizer. "Manufacturers, retailers and policymakers must do better to ensure products are safe before they end up in kids' hands."
For more than 30 years, the consumer group's "Trouble in Toyland" report has offered toy safety guidelines for parents and caregivers. It has also provided examples of toys currently on store shelves that pose potential safety hazards to small children. Key findings from this year's report include the following:
A number of popular "slimes" had toxic levels of boron, likely in the form of borax, up to 15 times the European Union's limit. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, ingesting boron can cause nausea, vomiting, long-term reproductive health issues, and can even be fatal.
In a survey of five search pages for balloons sold on Amazon, the WISPIRG Foundation found no choking hazard labels on 87 percent of the latex balloons marketed to parents of children under age 2, an apparent violation of the law. Among children's products, balloons are the leading cause of suffocation death.
The report also highlights two smart toys, a robot toy and a tablet, with privacy concerns discovered through an investigation by the Mozilla Foundation.
While there are no limits on boron in children's toys in the United States, the WISPIRG Foundation called for placing warning labels on products and a full public hearing to determine safe levels of boron.