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Group lists dangerous toys to avoid this holiday season

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

With the holiday gift buying season fully underway, advocacy groups say there are toys on store shelves across New York state that are dangerous to young children. The New York Public Interest Research Group has come up with it's yearly list of treacherous toys for the season.

NYPIRG SUNY Cortland coordinator Amanda Carpenter says there are reports every year of children hurt while they are playing with toys in any number of ways.

"All of these in individual ways are toxic.  They can cause hearing loss.  They can be swallowed.  Magnets can cross different barriers in the body and cause fatalities All of these are dangerous in different ways," said Carpenter

Among the toys displayed at a news conference this week that were bought in central New York stores, a V-Tech Explore and Learn Helicopter that poses a strangulation danger, a set of fun keys car keys that can cause hearing loss, and backpacks and other vinyl clothes that have high levels of toxic chemicals that can cause disease.  

The Dora Tunes Guitar by Fischer Price is another example of a toy that could harm small children's hearing because of prolonged exposure to loud noises, and which may violate federal loudness standards.  Other items on the list include toys with strings that can be choking hazards, magnetic toys that can be swallowed and cause digestive tract injuries,  and toys made with phthalates, which are associated with  hormone disruption, asthma and other serious health problems.  

"You should never think, something has phthalates, it's not as dangerous as a choking hazard, when it may be just as dangerous if not more," she said.

Carpenter advises shoppers this holiday season to go online to a number toy safety websites, including NYPIRG's, for a list of these toys and for an explanation of the dangers of some toys for young children.