ATLANTA — Just because a toy is for sale, doesn’t mean it's safe. That’s the warning from consumer safety experts for parents and gift givers this holiday season.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) recently published their 2022 Trouble in Toyland report, which found several toys under active recall still available for purchase online.
PIRG Watchdog Teresa Murray was able to purchase and receive more than 30 recalled toys from online U.S. sellers.
“My dining room looked like the island of misfit recalled toys," she said. "How many recalled toys can we buy in three weeks? That was my game.”
Among the toys Murray was able to purchase: an army playset with excessive toxic lead, a bath toy that can break into sharp cutting edges, and several toys that pose choking risks.
Here’s a list of the recalled toys Murray and her team purchased and received.
“Not only are these toys for sale, but doggone it, we bought them," said Murray. "And if we were giving gifts, we could give these to kids. And that's a problem."
The report found about 200,000 people go to the emergency room for toy-related injuries every single year.
"You don't just go running to the emergency room, so you've got to be pretty hurt or pretty sick," Murray pointed out.
11Alive investigators also found more than a dozen toys available for purchase online that are under active recall, for everything from choking hazards to illegal lead and toxin levels.
“Families, they may buy these recalled toys unknowingly and innocently, give them to kids and they could pose all kinds of dangers," Murray said.
"Somebody may sell a toy on Facebook marketplace or on eBay or one of these other sites and the person may not even know that the toy has been recalled.”
And not all of the risks are obvious to a parents’ keen eye.
“The toxics is really troubling because you can't see it, you can't smell it, you can't taste it," said Murray.
"If a product contains some of these toxics that can cause, honestly, brain damage and neurological damage and a whole bunch of other health issues, you may not even know it.”
Murray added that toxins are a growing concern not only with U.S. manufactured products, but also with the rise of international online retailers selling counterfeits and cheaper knockoffs.
“As families are trying to save money, you know, you see this toy that maybe it sells for, 40 bucks and then you find it online for 20 bucks, brand new, that should raise a red flag to you," she said.
"We find that all the time that these toys, particularly ones that come in from overseas, contain lead and phthalates. And those are both just extremely harmful to children."
So take a page from Saint Nick and be sure if your child is making a list, you’re checking it twice.
“I guarantee you some of the people seeing this will have toys in their homes already that have been recalled, so it's really important for families to check it out," said Murray.
You can check active recalls on the Consumer Protection Safety Committee's online portal here.
If you find you own or purchased a recalled product, follow the instructions on the CPSC website about how to proceed. Often they’ll pay for you to return it to the manufacturer, and process a refund.