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Abraham Scarr, director of Illinois Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, holds a beanbag chair that had been made safer after reports of child deaths. The Consumer Product Safety Commission in December 2015 recalled 2.2 million of the chairs after two children died. The bags could be opened easily; the children suffocated inside the bags, which are filled with foam beads. The product has since been altered to remove the hazard, Scarr said. | Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times

Your kid wants a hoverboard for Christmas? Read this first

SHARE Your kid wants a hoverboard for Christmas? Read this first
SHARE Your kid wants a hoverboard for Christmas? Read this first

A baby carrier that could dump out an infant. Dressers that could tip over and crush a small child. And lots of potentially dangerous hoverboards.

Those were among the dozens of items featured in Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s just-released 2016 Safe Shopping Guide.

“As a parent, every single year when I have gone through our safe shopping guide, I have found at least one item in here that has been recalled that is in my house,” Madigan said, talking to reporters at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital Tuesday. “So if it’s happening to me, it’s happening to a lot of other people as well.”

The 2016 guide features 84 recalls issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission since January 2016, including toys, kids’ furniture, clothing and smoke alarms.

Though the items have been recalled, they may still be in homes or available for sale online, officials say, adding that recall information isn’t always well-publicized.

“What we see more and more are people who are shopping online, and oftentimes it is online sellers — and certainly sellers in the second-hand market — who are not removing recalled items from their inventory,” Madigan said.

After the news conference, the Toy Industry Association issued a statement:

“U.S. toy safety requirements are among the strictest in the world, with more than 100 standards and tests in place to ensure that all toys found on store shelves are safe,” the statement reads.

“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. Families are also encouraged to stay up-to-date on toy recalls to ensure that all recalled products are kept out of their homes – and out of children’s hands.”

Choking hazards are the most common source of recalls, officials say.

“Small round objects are clearly the worst,” said Elizabeth Powell, a Lurie emergency room doctor. “Why are they the worst? Because they tend to be challenging to get out. So if they get to the back of the throat and a child coughs, it tends to obstruct … the entire back of the mouth.”

The 2016 shopping guide can be found online at: http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/2016_Recall_Guide.pdf

The toy association has its own safety guide, as well.

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