Dangerous toys still for sale, annual report finds

Mary Pirg finds unsafe, recalled toys still for sale

The musical instrument with the cute monkey character may seem to some parents like a great toy for their kids. Except that the keyboard paint is full of lead.

A brightly colored teething ring has small beads that a toddler could snap off and swallow, creating a choking hazard.

The toys are among many that have been deemed unsafe by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission but still can be found for sale, in many cases over the Internet, according to a report released Tuesday by consumer watchdog group Maryland Public Interest Research Group.

The 31st annual Trouble in Toyland report found that more than a dozen toys recalled for reasons, such as high lead levels or small pieces that a child could swallow, still can be found in some online stores.

Maryland PIRG released the data with doctors from the University of Maryland Medical Center and University of Maryland Children's Hospital and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

These toys "still lurk on the Internet and in stores," Frosh said. "It is a big job being a parent."

Maryland PIRG said that while car owners get alert letters about recalled parts, parents are left on their own to figure out if toys are safe. The report includes toys recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission from January 2015 to October 2016.

The group has pushed legislation in past years to get unsafe toys off of store shelves. It plans to introduce legislation this year to expand the ban on chemicals in toys.

"Don't trust that they are safe just because they are sold in stores," said Juliana Bilowich, Maryland PIRG public health organizer.

Dr. Adnan Bhutta, head of pediatric critical care medicine and the department of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said they see an uptick around the holidays of children hurt by toys.

Swallowing toy parts is one of the most common issues, Bhutta said. In those cases,parents should bring their children to a doctor even if they don't think their child was hurt because problems can emerge later.

amcdaniels@baltsun.com

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