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In Time For The Holidays, Report Flags Dangerous Toys

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Florian Martin
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Houston Public Media
Erik Dolliver with TexPIRG releases the group’s 30th annual ‘Trouble in Toyland’ report at Shriners Hospital for Children. Also pictured; pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lindsay Stephenson.";s:3:

If you’re a parent of a small child, this voice may sound familiar to you:

“I’m Casey. This is my car. Vroom!”

What you may not know is that the sound from a Go-Go Smart Wheels car from V-tech was measured at 85 decibels next to the ear. That’s about the same level as a nearby blow-dryer or a kitchen blender.

It’s one of the 22 toys the consumer advocacy group Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, has flagged as hazardous in its 30th annual “Trouble in Toyland” report.

Abigail Didier, whose 1-year-old plays with these cars, had no idea. I talked to her at Houston’s Shriners Hospital for Children, where PIRG’s Texas branch released the report.

“I never really thought about it being loud to affect him negatively, because I didn’t really think it was as loud as a hairdryer.”

But it is when you hold it close to your ear, which kids may do.

Dr. Lindsay Stephenson is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Shriners Hospital.

“If your child is playing with this day in and day out for hours at a time, as children tend to do, and having it in close proximity to their ear, long-term exposure to that can result in hearing loss.”

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Credit Florian Martin / Houston Public Media
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Houston Public Media

  PIRG also found toys with high levels of toxic chemicals.

Tests showed the “Fun Bubbles” jump rope from Dollar Tree contains 10 times the legal level of a toxic phthalate; and the time-tested Slinky Junior spring toy was found to contain unsafe levels of the cancer-causing chromium.

Several toys that could pose a choking hazard also didn’t have adequate warning labels.

In a statement, the Toy Industry Association says U.S. toy safety regulations are among the toughest in the world and that its top priority is to keep children safe. It dismisses the annual PIRG reports, saying they “needlessly frighten parents and caregivers.”