Toussaint, T. & A. GarberTrouble in toyland – The 33rd annual survey of toy safety


Tano Toussaint & Adam Garber

November 2018

U.S. PIRG Education Fund & PIRG Consumer Watchdog

For over 30 years, U.S. PIRG Education Fund has conducted an annual survey of toys to look for safety problems. This research has led to more than 150 toy recalls and other regulatory actions over the years. This year marks the the 10th anniversary of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) passing, which strengthened protections against dangerous consumer products. Toys are safer than ever before, thanks to decades of work by product safety advocates, parents, the leadership of Congress, state legislatures, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Despite this progress, the survey at hand of 40 toys this year found 15 toys with issues including toys with high concentrations of unsafe chemicals and with potential choking hazards. With hundreds of new toys hitting the market every year, this survey of only 40 toys suggests there may be other potentially dangerous toys slipping through existing protections or worthy of further investigation. This report not only lists the potentially dangerous toys that were found this year, but also describes why and how the toys could harm children. The independent testing covered just 40 of the thousands of toys that are on store shelves right now. The continued presence of hazards in toys highlights the need for enhanced vigilance on the part of government agencies and the public to ensure that unsafe toys do not harm children. Standards for toy safety are enforced by the CPSC. Safety standards include limits on toxic substances in children’s products, size requirements for toys for small children, warning labels about choking hazards, measures to keep magnets and batteries inaccessible, and noise limits. 

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