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Toys you should avoid this holiday season, watchdog says

The 2020 “Trouble in Toyland” report outlined nine types of toys that gift-givers should avoid.

Flocked animals such as the popular Calico Critters flocked toys have been linked to at least one death and near-death incident of children younger than 3 years old.
Flocked animals, such as the popular Calico Critters, are among toys not recommended for young children in the annual “Trouble in Toyland” report.
CalicoCritters.com

There are few things more fulfilling than watching the excitement on a child’s face when opening a holiday gift, so an Illinois watchdog group wants to ensure the most wonderful time of the year doesn't turn into a parent’s nightmare.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Illinois Public Interest Research Group’s “Trouble in Toyland” report that outlines hazardous children’s toys. The 2020 report found nine types of toys that should be avoided:

Choking hazards like the VTech Drill & Learn Toolbox, which has small parts not safe for children under 3. Gift-givers should use extra care when buying online, even if the toy says it’s meant for a 1-year-old or 2-year old.

Noisy toys, which can cause permanent hearing damage if played with next to a child’s ear. The Trouble in Toyland report identified a toy fire truck sold on Amazon as playing sounds of 104 decibels at its highest point.

Books, crayons and clay because the film coverings commonly found on these products have caused at least two choking incidents this year.

Flocked animals such as the popular Calico Critters flocked toys have been linked to at least one death and near-death incident of children younger than 3 years old.

Magnets and similar items are blamed for sending thousands of children to emergency rooms in the past decade. Many children who swallow magnets require hospitalization, sometimes surgery.

In-app purchases on devices often lead to large in-game bills when children play on phones, tablets or gaming systems. The report recommends withholding account passwords from children to deter purchases.

Bluetooth-connected toys, which can be vulnerable to data security issues. Loopholes make it possible for strangers to connect to these toys and talk to children in the home or use voice control for security systems.

Gaming consoles, which allow children to be exposed to harmful language or online strangers. The report suggests using parental controls on family accounts.

Recalled toys, like the 10 toys recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission over the past year. A search of saferproducts.gov also allows you to check if a toy has been recalled.