Which toys are the most dangerous for children?
The Captain America Soft Shield, the Ninja Turtles Pencil Case, and the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Remote are among the most dangerous children toys still for sale, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s 28th annual survey of toy safety. The report highlighted toys which pose toxic, choking, strangulation or excessive loudness hazards. The most common toxic materials found in toys are lead and phthalates. For example, the aforementioned Captain America shield had 2,900 parts per million (ppm) of lead, which is 29 times the U.S government legal limit of 100ppm, though the American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends a limit of 40ppm.
Additionally, the Ninja Turtles pencil case was found to contain 150,000ppm of a banned phthalate, as well as 600ppm of cadmium, a harmful metal. Lead has short and long term consequences including learning disorders, behavior issues, hearing problems, delayed growth, hypertension, kidney disease, and damage to the central nervous and reproductive systems. Phthalates, on the other hand, are added to products to make plastic softer and more flexible, and though their effects on human health have yet to be fully established, they have been associated with cancer, diabetes and obesity.
Toys’ small parts have always a concern for parents, or at least they should be. Choking hazard, however, is worsened by the presence of small magnets in toys such as Buckyballs, and Sonic Sound Sizzlers Noise Magnets. Last year, 27% of all toy-related deaths were caused by choking or asphyxiation due to balloons, balls, marbles, toys or toy parts. Adding insult to injury, small neodymium iron boron magnets can tear holes through intestines and cause other internal damage to children.
Even though sound-emitting toys which are meant to be held close to the ear shouldn’t exceed 65 decibels, the report found several examples of such toys which exceeded 85 decibels, like Chat & Count Smart Phone, the Lil’ Pal Phone, and the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Remote. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders says that prolonged exposure to noise in excess of 85 decibels causes gradual hearing loss regardless of age, and the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey adds that one out of every 5 American children will experience some degree of hearing loss by age 12. Consumers are reminded that the Consumer Product Safety Commission does not test all toys, and that not all toys comply with that Commission’s guidelines.