According to the "29th annual Trouble in Toyland" report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, parents should still be wary of the toxic and dangerous toys that are still present in the shelves of toy stores in America.
The report details the results obtained from laboratory tests on toys that searched for toxic chemicals, which include lead, chromium and phthalates. All of these chemicals could have very serious negative effects on the health and development of a child.
The report also featured examples of small-sized toys that represent choking hazards to children, loud toys that can damage hearing, and powerful magnets within toys that may cause severe injuries if a child swallows them.
"We should be able to trust that the toys we buy are safe. However, until that's the case, parents need to watch out for common hazards when shopping for toys," said U.S. PIRG Public Health Campaign Director Sujatha Jahagirdar.
The report discovered toys that contain levels of phthalates, lead or chromium that are beyond the legal limits. One such toy, a Jake and the Neverland Pirates children's tambourine, contained 580 ppm heavy metal chromium, which is more than nine times the 60 ppm legal limit for the substance in toys.
Other toys violating the laws on toxic substances include a Hello Kitty Bracelet and Hair Clips Accessory Set, which contains 5,100 ppm of the DEHP phthalate that is five times more than the limit of 1,000 ppm, and a Dora the Explorer backpack that alarmingly contains 200,000 ppm of DEHP.
While small parts have been banned for children's toys below three years old, the study still found toys being sold in stores that pose as choking hazards to children. One of the culprits is an Edushape 80 Pieces Textured Blocks collection of foam blocks that were being sold as toys for children 2 years old and up, but included small blocks that were choking hazards.
The study also discovered toys that can possibly damage the ears and hearing of children. While the study found no toys that are in violation of the noise limits as enforced by federal law, hearing experts are pushing for stronger rules in regulating such toys.
There is also still an abundance of powerful magnets that are very dangerous if swallowed by children due to their small size. The study found two brands of magnet sets that have already been issued a recall order for but are still being sold online, namely The Mini Set and Buckyballs.
The Trouble in Toyland report can be downloaded [pdf] for free so that parents will see the complete list of toys that were found to be potentially dangerous for children.