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Not all toys are safe


Shoppers need to pay attention to hazards when buying toys. WISPERG is Wisconsin’s chapter of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. They’ve released their 27th survey of toy safety.

Michelle Armstrong from Safe Kids at Aspirus Wausau Hospital joined Cordell Cox from WISPERG for a demonstration Tuesday.

Armstrong says batteries, especially small flat batteries like you’ll find in watches, singing greeting cards, and some toys can be very dangerous.  Many toys use small, powerful magnets. Armstrong says these magnets can have sharp edges and cause injury alone or when they stick to other magnets, and can cause severe injuries to a child's intestines.

Older kids often like skiing and snowboarding. Armstrong says that like biking, helmets prevent serious head injuries.

Lead and phthalates can cause several health problems including birth defects. Cox says several toys have these chemicals and elements present.

The group looks at four areas of concern that shoppers need to pay attention to.  Small parts that are a choking hazard , chemicals, magnetic toys, and excessively loud toys. For example, a toy that is considered a bad purchase is the Dora the Explorer guitar because it is over 85 decibels. 

WISPERG is also urging federal lawmakers to strengthen safety standards for toys. They are lobbying to expand the definition of a “small part” or “small toy”, establish guidelines to regulate cadmium limits in children’s jewelry, regulate magnet use in toys, and move to a 40 part-per-million lead standard recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A website with shopping tips is available.  They also have a smartphone application you can take shopping.  Here's a link:  www.toysafety.mobi.