Not all toys on the store shelves are safe

Not all toys on the store shelves are safe
A new survey shows many popular toys are slipping under the radar when it comes to safety. It's part of the annual holiday project called "Trouble In Toyland" aimed at getting adults to think safety before buying toys.

Highlighted in this year's survey: a Handy Manny "Let's Get Building" construction set by Fisher-Price purchased in Seattle. The problem according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, some of the small tools are too small.

"Some of these can fit or just barely fit inside the choking hazard tube that the Consumer Product Safety Commission uses to test toys," said Steve Breaux of WashPIRG.

The survey found lead in a kids tiara and jewelry set. And on the soft plastic mouth and eyes of a Dora the Explorer back pack -- toxic chemicals called phthalates.

"These (phthalates) have been regulated in things like baby bottles and sippy cups," said Breaux, "But they are still allowed in some toys."

None of the toys in the survey have been recalled. But experts say that doesn't mean they can't be harmful. Regardless of what the package says, look for potential hazards and you be the final judge.

"Because the Consumer Product Safety Commission cannot test every toy that's on the market. They simply don't have the resources for that," Breaux said.

And when it comes to big toys, noted local physician Dr. Fred Rivara says there are two products you should never buy for kids.

"Trampolines," said Rivara, a highly-regarded pediatrician at the University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center and Seattle Children's Hospital. "A hundred thousand people each year visit hospital emergency rooms because of trampolines."

Even if you think you're being safe, Rivara says a trampoline is not worth the risk.

And he has zero tolerance when it comes to buying all-terrain vehicles for children.

"So rather than tell you about how to make those safe, my advice would be, don't buy them. They're really dangerous products. They don't belong in your garage. They don't belong with kids on them. just don't buy those." Rivara said.

One of the best gifts for kids is a new helmet. Hospital also see thousands of kids with serious head and spinal injuries from falling on bicycles, skateboards, skis and snowboards.

For more information:

U.S. PIRG: Trouble in Toyland

Toy Safety 2010

CPSC: Recalls and Product Safety News