The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund has unveiled its 2017 “Trouble in Toyland” survey to warn parents about potentially dangerous toys as they head into the holiday shopping season.
According to the report from U.S. PIRG, top concerns in toy stores this year include data-collecting toys, which may compromise children’s privacy and safety, fidget spinner brands with high lead content, and toys with improper warning labels regarding target age group or the inclusion of small parts.
Data-collecting or “smart” toys, often described as the kid version of Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, may include capability to access the internet, record voices and video, transmit GPS data and more. A number of groups, including the FBI, have issued warnings to parents to be cautious about bringing internet-connected toys into their home, citing privacy and cybersecurity concerns.
Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center core member Fred Rivara, M.D., MPH, spoke from his experience as a pediatrician alongside representatives from Washington Public Interest Research Group and Toxic-Free Future at a Nov. 21 press conference announcing the new report.
Rivara also noted that bikes are often a popular holiday gift, and he reminded parents that a bike purchase should include a helmet as well.
“When you buy that bike, make sure you buy a bike helmet. That’s probably the single most important purchase when you buy a bike,” he said.
He also noted the importance of ensuring the new bike is the right size for the child.
The full Trouble in Toyland report and other tips on toy safety are available from WashPIRG.