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The official holiday shopping season is here and everyone will be looking for the best deals, many in search of the hottest gifts on the market.  However, before rushing out to grab the hottest toys, parents must consider the hidden dangers.

The U.S. Public Research Group (U.S. PIRG), a consumer group that pushes for toy safety says parents embarking on holiday shopping are once again confronted with a series of potential toy.  Over the past 28 years, its Trouble in Toyland report has identified hazards in toys and children’s products that could cause acute injuries. Its need for safety has led to more than 150 recalls and other regulatory actions and has helped educate consumers and policymakers on the need for stronger safety standards to protect children from harmful products.

In the 2013 report the group focused on toys that posed potential toxic hazards from dangerous chemicals in toys, choking hazards from small parts, strangulation hazards from cords and strings on pull toys, lacerations from sharp edges, and noise hazard from prolonged exposure to toys with noise above 85 decibels.

Here are some of the toys currently on store shelves that made the most dangerous list:

  • Captain America Soft Shield
  • Ninja Turtles Pencil Case
  • Buckyball magnets
  • Chat & Count Smart Phone

Because there is no comprehensive list of potentially hazardous toys, the group advises consumers to “examine toys carefully for potential dangers before making a purchase.”  A little knowledge, research, and caution can go a long way in preventing serious injuries or death from toys.  Here are a few consumer tips to consider as you are toy shopping:

  • Child’s age. Always check the toy label to make sure it’s made for a child within the proper age range.  For children under three-years-of age, check to see if the toy can pass through a toilet paper tube. If it can, it could be a choking hazard for your tot.
  • Small parts. Check to make sure there are no small parts that can be detached or other potential choking hazards.
  • Strangulation hazards. Look for cords, ropes, drawstrings, and other potential  strangulation hazards.
  •  Batteries. The acid in batteries can be fatal if swallowed.
  •  Magnets.  Small magnets can cause intestinal problems, choking, and be fatal if swallowed.
  •  Sounds.  There are noisy toys that can cause hearing damage.

If toy companies can’t protect kids, it is parents responsibility to be vigilant and decide what to allow in their homes.  The last thing you want to do is purchase dangerous toys for your loved ones.

Note to Consumers:  Report unsafe toys or toy-related injuries to the CPSC at call 1-800-638-2772.

Mark Bello has thirty-six years experience as a trial lawyer and fourteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice, Public Citizen, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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