Consumer report shows more knockoff toys online, causing hidden hazards for kids

A new consumer watchdog report is breaking down the biggest toy safety issues for parents especially when shopping for toys online.

One of the major concerns this year is knockoff toys that could even be dangerous to your kids.

Toys may look simple but each one has been put to the test or at least it should have.

“Toys have really strict safety standards. So the idea that a toy that had not undergone those safety tests can make it in the hands of the child was very alarming to us,” said Hannah Rhodes, U.S. PIRG, Consumer Watchdog Associate.

Consumer Watchdog group U.S. PIRG released this new report Thursday showing a rise in knockoff toys hitting the market and the potential safety hazards. Some of these hazards include high levels of lead, swallowing small pieces and even choking.

Researchers say toys bought from traditional stores must have a Children’s Product Certificate that means the toy follows all federal safety standards.

“We learned from toy manufacturers that they even have tests for saliva, because they know that toys go in children’s mouths,” Rhodes. “There’s a lot of intricate tests, I believe there’s over 100 safety tests that toys have to go through.”

But when you buy online, there’s a chance you’re dealing with a middleman seller who hasn’t verified if the toy is safe or not.

“We need to take stronger steps to address the online sale of these goods before they reach consumers’ hands,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons, (D) Delaware.

Lawmakers are working on a bill that would require more verification for third-party sellers online.

Another big trend the report found is kids getting hurt while playing with toys.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates 198,000 kids went to the emergency room for toy-related injuries last year.

Researchers say there’s no way to trace if those were all counterfeit toys but it’s still not worth the risk.

“It’s really important to take those few extra minutes sort through the entire product description, look at the seller’s information. If there’s conflicting age ranges, be wary of a toy like that,” said Rhodes.

Additionally, more than a dozen toys have been recalled by the federal government this year alone!

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