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Texas group releases dangerous toys report

The Texas Public Interest Research Group recently published its "Trouble in Toyland" annual report. The report highlights common dangers posed by children's toys and is intended to inform parents when they are buying gifts for children. Not every toy is examined during the product investigation, but the report covers a sample of toys purchased off-the-shelf from toy stores in Austin, which are broken down into four categories of potential harm: noise, toxicity, magnets and risk of choking.

The greatest area of risk with children's toys is choking. A small toy can become lodged in a child's throat, quickly resulting in serious injury or death. As a general rule, if a toy is small enough to slide easily through a toilet paper tube, it's too small for a young child to with safely. Parents and gift buyers should also keep in mind that many larger toys may have smaller parts that can become detached and pose a choking risk. An Austin medical director says his hospital experiences an increase in young patients around the holidays due to children choking on toys they have received as gifts.

The report also highlighted other issues with toys this year. For example, some popular toys lack proper warning labels, so parents may be unaware that they may pose a risk. Parents should be mindful that children in different age groups may not be able to share all toys safely. Something that is safe for an older child may be dangerous in the hands of a younger brother or sister.

The goal of the Texas PIRG report is to promote a safe and happy holiday season, but it raises serious issues. Dangerous children's toys that cause injuries may have long-lasting repercussions. Products liability law is designed to hold manufacturers and retailers liable for damages caused by consumer products. A products liability attorney may be able to evaluate and explain the options available to injured parties.

Source: FOX 7, "Report warns of dangerous toys", November 26, 2013

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