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Iowa group releases latest “Trouble in Toyland” report


November 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Just in time for the Christmas shopping season, an Iowa consumer safety group is out with an annual report on dangerous toys. Kramer McLuckie, with the Iowa Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), unveiled the “Trouble in Toyland” report at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines Tuesday, as several children nearby played with dolls and building blocks. One of the group’s biggest concerns involves toys on store shelves that present a choking hazard.

“We all know that toddlers like to put anything and everything in their mouths and between 2005 and 2010 that’s proven very dangerous as over 50 children have choked to death on balloons, balls, toys or small parts of toys,” McLuckie said. He encourages parents and caregivers to test toys with a toilet paper tube – if the toy fits through the tube, it’s too small for a child under three. Other toys Iowa PIRG put on display are considered too loud or contain toxic metals and chemicals. Doctor Vidya Chande, Medical Director of the Blank Children’s Hospital Emergency Department, said many kids are injured because they’re playing with toys that aren’t appropriate for their age.

“That, I think, is the core of the problem that I see in the emergency department. A toy that’s safe in the hand of a 12-year-old can be very dangerous in the hands of a two-year-old,” Chande said. “One of the challenges during the holidays is to keep the 12-year-old’s toys away from the two-year-old.” The national Public Interest Research Group has released the Trouble in Toyland report every year since 1985. According to the group, the reports have led to the recall of at least 150 toys and other regulatory actions to protect children from unsafe products.

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