Trouble In Toyland Report: Some Recalled Toys Being Sold Online

US Consumer Product Safety Commission Recalled 44 Toys From January 2015 To October 2016

Monkey Glockenspiel toy
Shamane Mills/WPR

Some public health officials are warning holiday shoppers that an annual report on potentially dangerous toys has found product recalls don’t always mean toys aren’t for sale. In some cases, the toys are being sold online instead of on store shelves.

U.S. PIRG’s Trouble in Toyland 31st annual report shows 44 toys – a total of more than 35 million units – were recalled from January 2015 to October 2016 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission; 16 of those toys, which could be from recalled batches, were still available for purchase online, which is illegal, according to a WISPIRG press release.

Most toys are recalled because they pose a choking hazard, WISPIRG’s Public Health Coordinator Claire Rader said at a press conference Tuesday in Madison about the survey.

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“We are particularly concerned about food toys because children think that they can and should be eaten,” she said.

Other toys are pulled from shelves because of excessive noise, faulty batteries or lead, Rader said.

In 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act tightened lead limits and phased out chemicals called phthalates, a combination of chemicals used to make plastic more durable and flexible. But the national report found one toy with excessive lead, the Monkey Glockenspiel, could still be ordered online despite being recalled in February.

Rader said consumers need to be aware of recalls so they can avoid potentially dangerous toys.

“We were pleased to see that some of the toys that had been recalled had been repaired or replaced when we purchased them,” Rader said. “Nonetheless, we encourage the CPSC to further investigate the toys that we found available for sale online and take appropriate action against these online stores if they continue to sell recalled toys.”

The Trouble in Toyland report was released Tuesday morning at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison. The national U.S. PIRG releases the report to each state chapter.

“Be sure to buy toys that are appropriate for your child’s age and abilities, as indicated by safety labels, as well as looking for toys with quality design and construction,” said Nicole Vesely, of the children’s hospital and coordinator of the statewide Safe Kids Coalition, which is part of the hospital.

Vesely also said to be cautious of gifts containing magnets or batteries, which children can swallow. There were 11 toy-related deaths in the United States in 2014, the last year such data is available, according to the report.