As the holiday shopping season approaches, one organization is alerting consumers about dangerous toys. The Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group, or PennPIRG, is highlighting the annual “Trouble in Toyland” report. For the 34th year in a row, PennPIRG is relaying important toy safety information to Pennsylvania residents, urging them to review the report before shopping for their kids.

“Our ‘Trouble in Toyland’ report has uncovered high levels of lead in fidget spinners, smart toys with data security flaws, choking hazards and more,” says Emma Horst-Martz, Campaign Associate for PennPIRG.

The report is released by U.S. PIRG, but PennPIRG is PA’s branch of the nationwide organization. PennPIRG is highlighting three categories of dangerous toys consumers need to be aware of: hidden toxins and hazards, detectable dangers, and recalled toys. Recalled toys are not always quickly taken off store shelves, or may still available on online resale sites, which Pennsylvania’s Auditor General says needs to change.

“The stores and the companies should do a better job of making sure these toys aren’t available in the first place. When something is recalled, I believe they should be off the shelves and not available for resale,” says Eugene DePasquale, Pennsylvania’s Auditor General.

In fact, Trouble in Toyland contributors were able to purchase INNOCHEER’s Kids Musical Instrument Set and VTECH’s Musical Elephant Shaker more than a year after they were recalled.

The report also shows that elevated levels of cadmium, lead, and other toxins have been found in items like musical instruments, children’s jewelry and slime products. “Smart toys” like the “My Friend Cayla” doll or “Firby Connect” have been known to record children’s voices or keep data they’ve entered, leaving sensitive information vulnerable to hackers. The report also highlights choking hazards are still a high risk.

While toys are meant to bring a child happiness, they often times can lead to the opposite.

“In 2017, an estimated 251,000 children across this country were treated in emergency departments for injuries related to toys. That’s a quarter of a million children,” says Amy Bollinger, Manager of Penn State Children’s Hospital Pediatric Trauma and Injury Prevention Program.

You can read the full Trouble in Toyland Report by clicking this link: https://uspirg.org/feature/usp/trouble-in-toyland-2019.