Toy safety group launches site

SANDY SCHALBRACK, the Western Slope director of Operation Christmas Child packs shoe boxes at Clifton Christain Church.Last year, through Operation Christmas Child, over 1.2 million shoeboxes packed full of gifts and goodies were wrapped, packed and sent to children in disadvantaged situations in over 100 3rd world countrys.The Western Slope operation made up over 7,000 shoeboxes.

Parents worried about bringing home unsafe toys can learn about toy safety on the go by visiting or on a smartphone or computer.

The Colorado Public Interest Research Group launched the Web site Tuesday to help parents learn what toys are safe and what may not be best for their child.

The research group recently released its 24th annual survey of toy safety. Although the survey names a few toys specifically as examples of being excessively loud, present choking hazards or contain lead or other toxins, CoPIRG consumer advocate Aaron Segel said parents should think about general hazards more than specific toys this season.

“We want to highlight a broader range because sometimes parents shop at Dollar Stores” or buy generic brands, he said during a media event Tuesday in Grand Junction.

Guidelines include making sure toys cannot fit through a paper towel tube before giving them to children under the age of 3, making sure toy sounds do not exceed 65 decibels, and avoiding toys that contain lead or compounds called phthalates.

Segel said more than 130 toy recalls have resulted from this year’s CoPIRG study.

The research group found a Priddy Books cloth book for preschoolers that contained lead paint at levels of 1900 parts per million, well above the 600 parts per million limit set by the federal government. Researchers also found lead in a painted duck sold at Dollar Tree and an alligator cell phone charm bought at Claire’s, and they found phthalates in a Pretty Princess Puppy Purse bought at Claire’s and an Elmo Lunch Bag manufactured by Sassy.

At least 13 children have choked on small toys, balloons and balls in the past year, Segel said. The research group found Zaidy wood stacking rings and a P&C Enterprise real wood shape-sorter barn had parts too small for children under age 3. It found My First Baby Learn by Baby Born, the Toy Story Pizza Planet Gift Pack, Hasbro Fur Real Baby Bird and Nemmer Worky all have near-small parts.

Nearly 15 percent of children ages 6 to 17 show signs of hearing loss, according to the CoPIRG study. CoPIRG used the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Learning Phone, Vtech Bright Lights Phone, Mattel Secret Saturdays Cryptid Claw, and Playskool Kota and Pals Stompers Triceratops as examples of “excessively loud” toys.


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