HARTFORD, Conn. (WTIC Radio) - U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is urging parents to heed the warnings of the 36th annual Trouble in Toyland report which highlights various toy safety issues.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has so far recalled 13 toys in 2021, according to the report. However, CPSC points out that toy safety has come a long way in the last year.
The CPSC estimates that last year, emergency rooms treated around 198,000 toy-related injuries. This, the report notes, is a significant decrease from previous years when injuries were over 220,000.
This decrease in toy-related injuries could be a result of increased supervision during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to the report.
In an effort to keep promoting toy safety, Blumenthal is calling on parents and gift-buyers to be cautious when purchasing toys for children.
Parents should be wary of noisy toys that can damage a child's hearing, small toys that are choking hazards for young children and dangerous toys that present ingestion risks such as magnets that can cause intestinal blockage and require surgery, Blumenthal said.
Adults should also do their research before purchasing a toy online, Blumenthal said, citing the report.
"When you think you're buying a real bargain, a second-hand toy, online, be sure it hasn't been recalled," Blumenthal said. "The reason it's been recalled is that it poses a safety threat and there are a lot of toys online that are there because the CPSC literally cannot stop them."
Dr. Steven Rogers at Connecticut Children's has a simple tip to check if a toy is a choking hazard: if the toy fits in an empty toilet paper roll, it's a choking hazard for kids under three years old.
The report also warns against knockoff toys that may not have been tested properly for safety and smart toys or game consoles that can pose security risks.
Rogers is echoing Blumenthal's call to choose safety when dealing with toys.
"Start by picking age-appropriate toys. Inspect the toys to ensure that they are safe, and supervise your children when they play with them. That means actively playing with your child and the toy, not just being in the same room," Rogers said.
Additional information on the toy safety report can be found on the U.S. PIRG website.