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Consumer group urges caution before buying holiday toys

22 November 2017

The toys highlighted in the U.S. Public Interest Research Group's annual "Trouble in Toyland" report include fidget spinners that contain unsafe levels of lead, internet-connected "smart" toys that may surveil children's activities, and toys that pose choking hazards but aren't properly marked.

For more than 30 years, the WISPIRG Foundation's Trouble in Toyland report has offered safety guidelines for purchasing toys for small children, and has provided examples of toys now on store shelves that pose potential safety hazards.

In addition to lead, noise, choking, and magnets, there's a new fifth hazard consumer groups and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are warning parents about.

Making the risky toy list for this alarming reason is the My Friend Cayla doll, found at Walmart and Kohl's.

The report also warned of finding lead in popular "fidget spinners" found on shelves in Target stores. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), toy recalls have declined dramatically in recent years. However, the group said none of the products include a choke hazard warning.

The CPSC, Target and the toy's manufacturer should recall the two fidget spinners, PIRG said.

While choking hazards and toxicity remain top safety hazards, the group raised new concerns, like digital privacy, during a news conference at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital.

Parents should also look out for data-collecting toys.

NYPRIG leaders say they are also concerned about mislabeling on small toys and balloons. "Lead harms the developing brain and is easily ingested through normal hand-to-mouth behaviors".

The Toy Association, a trade group that represents toy manufacturers, disagreed with the findings, saying that numerous toys listed were previously recalled. However, according to the complaint, parents who have bought My Friend Cayla have not been appropriately notified of the doll's surveillance capabilities.

The Toy Association e-mailed 7 Eyewitness News a statement criticizing this report. saying the group is only listing toys that have already been recalled and it's trying to scare parents during what is supposed to be a joyful time of the year.

Two brands of fidget spinners caught the attention of researchers for large amounts of lead.

She said risky toys are still out there in stores, despite federal laws and standards.

Hoverboards "Even though many hoverboards have been taken off store shelves over the past year, they continue to pose dangers to children", the report said.

Consumer group urges caution before buying holiday toys