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Toy Safety Group Unveils Mobile Web Site

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An annual report lists toys that could be bad for your child’s health.

The 24th annual “Trouble in Toyland” report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) says it found three main toy safety risks to small children: toxic hazards, noise and choking.

“In the past two years, at least 13 children have choked to death on balloons, balls, toys or parts of toys,” said PIRG’s Elizabeth Hitchcock.

For children under 3, PIRG recommends using a cylinder the size of a tissue roll to test the parts. If they fit through the cylinder, the toy is considered unsafe.

As for noise, PIRG says nearly 15 percent of kids between 6-17 show signs of hearing loss. So toys like a play cell phone used close to the ear should not be louder than 10 decibels, measured 10 feet away.

“It exceeded 85 decibels,” Hitchcock said of one particular toy.

Harmful chemicals found in toys are also a major concern. It’s long been known to avoid lead, which can cause damage to the central nervous system. Also phthalates, used to make plastic softer, are linked to reproductive defects.

But consumer groups and the toy industry says toys are safer than ever.

“There are tens of thousands of toys on store shelves and they found them to be in compliance, with a few exceptions,” said Joan Lawrence, vice president of the Toy Industry Association.

This year, there have been 38 Consumer Product Safety Commission toy recalls down from more than 160 last year.

“These lower numbers don’t reflect fewer inspections or investigations. They really do seem to reflect great compliance with the law,” said CPSC’s Robert Adler.

PIRG has launched a new interactive mobile phone tool and web site to help shoppers check on possible hazards while in the store. It’s part of an ongoing effort to help ensure that toys bring joy and not harm to children.

according to wthr.com