Buying toys isn't as easy as 1-2-3

How to spot dangerous toys this holiday season

CREATED Nov 20, 2012

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MILWAUKEE – Black Friday is just three days away and many people will be buying gifts for children.  But buying toys isn’t as easy as 1-2-3, while many may seem incredibly attractive to children, there could be a hidden danger that parents should be aware of.

"It scares me, it makes me nervous
," Milwaukee mom Tiffany Coleman tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka.  She’s worried about her two-year-old son after learning common toy hazards from the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG).

Kids get gifts from people who maybe aren't used to buying them gifts, great grandma probably doesn't look at toys every day and know what's age appropriate,” Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin’s Abby Collier explains.

From lead and phthalates to strangulation dangers, gift givers this holiday season need to be on the lookout.  Strong magnets like the Snake Eggs sold at Dollar Tree stores could cause stomach injuries and be a choking hazard for children according to WISPIRG’s Trouble in Toyland report.

So WISPIRG recommends using a toilet paper roll to see if toys may pose a choking hazard, if the toy doesn’t fit, it is safe Collier explains.  “
Use a tool like this and you might save the life of your child or another child that comes into your home,” says Collier.

Coleman hadn’t heard using a toilet paper roll before but she plans to test her son’s toys today, “A
s soon as I pick him up from school, we're trying every toy at home."

But some toys take their time to do damage WISPIRG’s Aliz Savay says,
Prolonged exposure to noise above 85 decibels will cause gradual hearing loss in any age rangeThis Dora Tunes Guitar tests as high as 93 decibels."  The Trouble in Toyland report notes the guitar is sold at Target and manufactured by Fisher-Price.  Milwaukee mom of two, Charla Gumb, almost had it on her shopping list, " That Dora noise toy, I'll bet my baby would LOVE to play with it."

But Gumb is now reconsidering her holiday list because her daughter already has one set of tubes in her ears,
"I need to find something that's not dangerous for her to play with."  Coleman agrees, "It's actually harming my son so now I have to actually have to look at what I pick or what I buy now."

So before you head out
to do your holiday shopping, check your list twice against US PIRG’s toy safety website