Hidden Dangers in Toyland

By: Ilyssa Trussel
By: Ilyssa Trussel

It’s the last thing any parent would want for Christmas: their child spending the night in the emergency room.

A consumer group says that nightmare could become a reality if parents don't keep an eye out for hazardous toys.

Five-year-old Zane Carter already told Santa what was on his wish list. "I wanted an iPod," he says.

Mother of two, Monica Gibbs, is shopping around trying to find the gifts her children would want.

"Usually I go online and check and see reviews to see if somebody likes it or not,” she says. “I guess I'm being bad, but safety really isn't a big concern."

The Florida Public Interest Research Group says safety should be a concern.

The group says in one year alone 73,000 children under the age of five were treated in emergency rooms for toy related injuries.

"Even one toy related death is too many because these deaths are easily preventable," said Public Interest Advocate Brad Ashwell.

Dr. Sam Ashoo says toy related injuries are very tragic and can often ruin a family's holiday. "Little children, especially under the age of three have a very narrow windpipe and the small parts that we don't normally think of as being hazardous become very dangerous," he explains.

Topping the list of dangerous toys: balloons; once they are popped or deflated, children can choke.

The same concern also pertains to Magnetix. When taken apart the pieces are very small and can get lodged in a child's air passage.

Ashwell says the responsibility falls on the parents. "The bottom line is parents need to stay vigilant when they're shopping for their children,” he says. “The onus is really on the parent to notice whether toys have small parts that can break off, to notice warning labels, but they need to also be aware that not all toys are labeled appropriately."

So here is a little test you can do at home.

Take a roll of toilet paper and hold the toy or pieces of the toy up to the opening. If it fits through the hole, chances are, it's too small and your child could choke.

Other than small parts, the group is warning against toys with loud noises that could damage eardrums and also toys that contain lead.


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