It's Holiday Shopping Season! Parents need to be cautious when it comes to toy shopping. There are plenty of toys or toy dangers out there that parents should be aware of.

The MassPIRG Education Fund, a Massachusetts consumer safety organization, issued its 36th annual “Trouble in Toyland” report Thursday warning consumers about toys that could be counterfeit and dangerous to children.

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled 13 toys so far in 2021, according to the "Trouble In Toyland" report. The toys that were recalled pose many risks including potential ingestion by a child, high levels of lead, and choking due to small parts from toys that are easily broken.

According to the report, there are six different types of toys or toy dangers that you should be aware of:

  • Toys with choking hazards: A toy meant for ages 3 to 6 must have a warning label if it includes small parts. Sometimes, websites post the wrong age restrictions.
  • Toys with ingestion risks: items include magnets and batteries.
  • Noisy toys: A risk to a child's hearing. In the report, 5 noisy products were tested and 4 of them were a cause for concern.
  • Second-hand toys: This is a big problem. Many people sell their used toys online before checking to see if they've been recalled.
  • Counterfeit or "knockoff" toys: Manufacturers from overseas, who don't often follow U.S. safety regulations, sell lots of these knockoffs online.
  • "Smart" toys: Items such as toys that utilize built-in recording devices or cameras can pose security risks by collecting data on a child. Or an unsecured mobile app that could expose the child to inappropriate content.

Bottom line, parents, just be careful and cautious while you shop. Last year, there were at least 9 toy-related deaths in kids 14 years old and younger, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In addition, there were almost 200,000 toy-related injuries in 2020 that required hospital treatment.

For more on the report and some safe shopping tips, visit MassPIRG's website here.

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