Report: Watch out for dangerous toys when holiday shopping

    Toy Trouble Splash Page
    The splash page for the WISPIRG/USPIRG report, "Trouble in Toyland." USPIRG website screenshot.

    From choking hazards to poisonous metals and compounds, the toy aisle still poses a danger to children, a report released Thursday warns.

    The report, Trouble in Toyland, published by the WISPIRG Foundation and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, urges parents and caregivers to exercise caution in choosing children’s playthings. The groups have published the report for 34 years running, timing its release for the gift-giving holiday season, and operate a website

    “Toys have become safer over the last three decades, but dangerous and toxic toys are still on store shelves. With that in mind, parents need to be vigilant to keep their kids healthy and safe,” Peter Skopec, WISPIRG Foundation director, said in a statement. “Manufacturers and regulators must do more to ensure all toys are safe before they end up in a child’s hands.”

    The U.S. Computer Product Safety Commission reports that hospital emergency rooms treated 226,000 children for toy-related injuries in 2018.

    Dangerous products cited in the report include choking hazards from a line of recalled bath toys and recalled wooden vehicles sold by Target; toys that make loud noises capable of hurting children’s hearing; and toys containing lead, cadmium, and boron, all found for sale in the last year.

    Safety recalls don’t succeed in keeping some products off the market, the report found, and it advises checking the website to see if a toy or other product has been recalled.

    Erik Gunn
    Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, along with related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.