Research group releases 21st list of potentially dangerous toys
In 2005, the lives of 20 American children were tragically cut short due to the improper use of hazardous toys.
The Syracuse Chapter of the New York Public Interest Research Group aims to prevent any more toy-related deaths or injuries by contributing research to NYPIRG’s annual list of flawed toys.
The 21st edition of the report, first announced to the public Nov. 21, is not so much a complete list of dangerous toys as it is a sampling of products which hopes to raise awareness for parents as they begin the holiday shopping season, said Dana Hill, project coordinator of the Syracuse NYPIRG chapter.
‘(This survey) has done a great deal to put pressure on companies to make better products,’ she said.
Among the items of concern this year in the report were portable play sets, building kits and a group of assorted earrings and bracelets. Items placed on the list usually either posed a threat to a child choking, suffocating, suffering intestinal blockage from an ingested magnet or strangulation, according to the report.
The number of toy-related injuries in 2005 totaled 202,300, down from 255,100 in 2001, according to a statement released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Hill said the report released by NYPIRG usually sparks great media attention, and gains the interest of the CPSC, which sets the guidelines for what toys are permissible for certain age groups.
Other chapters of NYPIRG throughout the state also contributed to the report, Hill said. The annual report has often led the CPSC to recall toys that NYPIRG reported posed a threat to small children.
‘We’ve come a long way since this report was first released 21 years ago,’ she said. ‘There are a lot less hazards on the shelves now than there were back then.’
The report released last week stated its 20 years of reports have led to at least 120 corrective actions or recalls by the CPSC and manufacturers.
Hill said NYPIRG student volunteers ventured into the shopping centers and stores of Syracuse and tested out a random selection of toys. The majority of unsafe toys that the team found were in dollar stores.
Ryan Suser, a senior entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises major in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, said he has been involved in the consumer action product division of the Syracuse NYPIRG chapter since freshman year.
‘Our long term goal of contributing to this report every year is to affect policies regarding toys,’ he said.
The student research team tested toys for choking hazards by placing them in a small tube known as a test cylinder, Hill and Suser said. If the toy is able to fit into the cylinder, then it poses a choking hazard to small children.
‘Through meticulous research, we can show how these products stand up to other companies,’ Suser said. ‘At least parents will now know that these hazards are out there.’
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