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Trouble in Toyland: Annual report on dangerous toys includes slime products, choking hazards

Posted: 6:30 AM, Nov 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-20 14:44:07-05
Trouble in Toyland: Annual report on dangerous toys includes slime products, choking hazards

Kids love slime and other toys, but the 33rd annual Trouble in Toyland report is concerned about some slime products, a jet plane that makes excessive noise, unlabeled choking hazards and smart toys that may give out your children's personal information and location to other companies.

The Trouble in Toyland report is compiled and released each year by the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) Foundation.

"No parent should have to worry if a toy is unsafe or toxic when they go to toy store or shop online," said Danny Katz, the director of CoPIRG. "Unfortunately, this year, we still found a number of toys that we are were warning consumers and parents to be aware of."

SMART TOYS

The Trouble in Toyland calls out one toy for excessive noise.

"The number of connected products grows daily," the Trouble in Toyland report said. "Websites, mobile apps and products, including children’s watches and toys, are all capable of collecting information about and tracking users, including children under 13."

Katz said he is is concerned that information collected by a smart toy may be shared with a third party.

"A parent should be able to turn off, or opt out of, the toy actually sharing child's info or location with a third party or with others," he said.

The Trouble in Toyland report specifically mentioned two smart toys:

  • Dash, a robot toy sold by Wonder Workshop, connects to applications via Bluetooth, has a microphone, and has various features that allow children to actively engage with the toy. However, according to the Mozilla Foundation investigation, the toy shares your information with third parties.
  • “Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition” can share a child’s private information with third parties for advertising purposes, and the tablet does not delete the data it stores on you. The Mozilla Foundation puts it in stark terms: “Amazon gets to know your kid from cradle on.”

"If you're a parent, look on the security settings and make sure you're able to opt out of that toy sharing your child's information with a third party," Katz said.

Both of the makers of those products sent us statements disputing the report.

Wonder Workshop CEO Vikas Gupta said, "This information is false. We are committed to protecting the privacy of our users. Our apps and robots do not share children’s data with third parties and we are fully compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)."

Amazon sent Denver7 a statement, reading that the company has a longstanding commitment to privacy and data security and "Amazon FreeTime on Fire Kids Edition tablets is compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). We do not share children’s data with third-parties." Parents are able to see their child's tablet activity by logging into the Parent Dashboard. They are also able to delete activity data by contacting Amazon Customer Service, the company said. 

"If you're a parent, look on the security settings and make sure you're able to opt out of that toy sharing your child's information with a third party," Katz said.

SLIME

The Trouble in Toyland report also mentions slime and slime products.

"Slime is increasingly popular toy. Unfortunately we found a number of different slimes with really high levels of boron," Katz said. "Boron is kind of chemical that if ingested can cause lots of different health problems, even nausea and vomiting."

"Not all of the slimes that we tested had high boron content, and the ingredient is not necessary to make slime," the report said. "We encourage parents to be careful when using these kits — ensuring
their child does not ingest the slime or the borax packet."

The European Union has a limit on Boron in toys, but the U.S. does not, Katz said.

The CoPIRG Foundation wants the Consumer Product Safety Commission to review the limits allowed on Boron.

The products mentioned in the report include:

  • Kangaroos Original Super Cool Slime, sold by Amazon
  • Kidsco Glow in the Dark Slime, sold by Amazon and Walmart
  • Toysmith Jupiter Juice Slime, sold by Amazon and Walmart
  • iBaseToy Fluffy Slime, sold by Amazon
  • Haniex Soft Magic Crystal Slime, sold by Amazon
  • Meland Fluffy Slime, sold by Amazon

CHOKING HAZARDS

"More and more parents are shopping for toys online, and when shopping online, they don't see full size of the toy so warning labels are really, really critical," Katz said. "There are number of toys appropriate for 6 or 7-year-olds, but if given to 2-year-old, they are a choking hazards."

Katz said you can easily check if a toy or a piece of a toy is a choking hazard. Just get an empty toilet paper holder. Try to drop the piece through it. If the toy fits through the toilet paper holder, it's a choking hazard for a child under 3 years old.

EXCESSIVE NOISE

The report mentioned one handheld toy that is too loud: a toy plane manufactured by Haktoys and sold
on Amazon.

“Haktoys ATS Battery Operated Bump & Go Action F-182 Fighter Jet 8-inch Plane” is accused of emitting a continuous sound at 85 decibels. 

"We recommend that this toy is tested by the CPSC," the report said.

"A lot of kids, their arms are smaller, playing with toys close to face and excessively loud noise can cause hearing loss or hearing damage," Katz said.

REPORT HISTORY

This is the 33rd year for the Trouble in Toyland report.

Katz said in the past three decades, 150 of the toys CoPIRG has highlighted have been recalled.

"We're proud of that," Kats said. "Proud we are able to catch these toys."

However, Katz said many toys fall through and that's why parents have to be on the watch.

TOY ASSOCIATION RESPONDS

The Toy Association said this report doesn't indicate any trouble because many of the items were previously recalled or not toys at all. 

"The inclusion of these products in a supposed 'toy' safety report is deliberately misleading and frightening to parents and undermines the toy industry’s deep and ongoing commitment to ensuring that toys are safe," the response read. 

The association said toys are actually among the safest consumer product categories found in a home because their safety requirements in the United States are among the strictest in the world. 

"Parents and caregivers should always shop at reputable stores and online retailers that they know and trust, and exercise caution when buying toys at flea markets, garage sales, second-hand, thrift stores, etc., as these vendors may not be monitoring for recalled products," the statement reads. "Families are also encouraged to stay up-to-date on toy recalls ensuring that all recalled products are kept out of their homes – and out of children’s hands."