The Most Dangerous Toys of 2012

Heading out toy shopping tomorrow? Read this article first.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group released its 27th annual “Trouble in Toyland” survey Tuesday, offering consumers a list of potentially dangerous toys. Items were placed on the list because children could be injured from small parts that pose choking risks, lacerated by sharp edges, endangered by exposure to toxic chemicals and strangled by cords on pull toys.

According to the report, researchers visited national toy stores, malls and discount dollar stores over the last three months in search of potential toxic, choking, strangulation and noise hazards.

Among the USPIG survey’s findings:

  • Lead exposure, which can cause “permanent mental and developmental impairments,” is still a serious risk.
  • Magnet toys pose problems, because the magnets can come off and be swallowed.
  • Many toys with small parts have improper labeling and might accidentally be purchased for a child under 3 years old.
  • Two toys exceeded the recommended limit for continuous exposure to noise above 65 decibels.

Specifically, PIRG noted that a Morphobot action figure that exceeded legal lead limits, a Dora the Explorer guitar was too loud, and several small dollar store toys contained small pieces considered to be choking hazards. The group also warned parents against magnet toys like Buckeyballs saying that there were more than 1700 emergency room visits between 2009 and 2011 due to the ingestion of high-powered magnets.

Boston-based consumer watchdog World Against Toys Causing Harm released their annual “10 Worst Toys” list on Tuesday as well. This group focused on toys for older children that are available in big box stores and chains like Target and Toys R Us. They list the following:

  • Magnetic Fishing Game, $1.77, by Kole Imports (choking hazard)
  • Inflatable Bongo Ball, $49.99, by Toys R Us (impact injuries)
  • Dart Zone Quick Fire 12 dart gun, $19.32, by Prime Time Toys Ltd. (eye injuries)
  • Spinner Shark 4-Wheel Kneeboard, $59.97, by FuzionNextsport (impact injuries)
  • Explore & Learn Helicopter, $15.99, by V Tech (strangulation hazard)
  • N-Force Vendetta Double Sword, $19.99, by Hasbro (impact injuries)
  • Water Balloon Launcher, $21.99, by Water Sports LLC (choking hazard, facial injuries)
  • Power Rangers Super Samurai Shogun Helmet, $29.99, by Bandai (puncture wound,
  • impact injuries)
  • Playful Xylophone, $29.99, by P’Kolino (choking hazard)
  • The Avengers Gamma Green Smash Fists, $16.99, by Hasbro (impact injuries)

You can read the USPIG Report here and the WATCH list here.