Toy report looks at chemicals, choking hazards

November 23, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) calls its list of toys that could pose a threat Trouble in Toyland.

"As a parent [or] as a grandparent running a preschool or a nursery you have to have constant vigilance because we learn of new dangers, we learn about items that have not been tested, that are not actually safe," IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. Madigan released her own list of dangerous recalled toys on Monday.

Trouble in Toyland looks at choking hazards, loud toys, and chemical dangers.

"Parents can't go around and determine if something has a toxic chemical in it. It's really up to the job of the consumer product safety commission and fortunately the new law gives them the resources to do that," said Brian Imus, Illinois PIRG.

As technology invades more aspects of our lives, emergency room Physician Elizabeth Powell warns about small magnets and batteries that are becoming more common in gadgets around the home -- particularly lithium batteries.

"A child finds one of these batteries around and ingests it and it gets stuck in the esophagus it can lead to very significant burns," said Dr. Elizabeth Powell, Children's Memorial Hospital.

Joann Colucci, a mom and former a daycare provider, showed her family how to measure whether or not an item could choke a child with a tube she purchased.

"If we saw something around the house we'd say, 'Oh, that's a chokable, test it out.' Then they would stick it in there. It was a really good tool for us," said Colucci.

Advocates and officials said stronger laws have been effective.

"You can see the success of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act simply by the fewer number of products that are on this table in front of us. There have been years when it has been piled high with products," said Nancy Cowles, Kids in Danger.

"There has been progress made, but we still have hazards we need to be aware of and there is still work to be done," said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, 9th District.

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