By Lois Lee, MD, MPH, an emergency medicine physician at Children’s Hospital Boston.
Now that the turkey and pumpkin pie are long gone, children have turned their holiday attention to what they think matters most—toys. But as you glance over those ever- growing wish lists, how can you be sure which toys are safest for your family? Fortunately for the safety conscious gift-giver in all of us, the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) recently released Trouble in Toyland, their annual report on toy safety. This is the non-profit consumer organization’s 26th report, which for years has provided safety guidelines for consumers, as well as highlight toys currently on store shelves that could be potentially dangerous. It’s a great guide for parents, but by no means a rulebook; when shopping for your family, keep in mind that a little common sense goes a long way. Full story »
Zhu Zhu hamsters are one of the most popular toys this holiday season, but do the robotic rodents contain unsafe levels of toxins? That’s what the consumer Web site GoodGuide contends. While testing the year’s top 30 toys, they found unsafe levels of antimony, a metal used in textiles and plastics which can cause lung and heart problems, ulcers and diarrhea, on the hamster.
The company that manufactures Zhu Zhu hamsters disputes the findings, maintaining that the toys are safe and have passed the most rigorous testing in the toy industry for consumer health and safety.
Since publishing this post, it has been reported that the Zhu Zhu toys may not violate federal standards.
Here’s a quick look at what Thrive was up to last week.
An expert weighs in on whether New Moon, the latest Twilight movie, influences about how teens view romance. Minnie Ortiz, a patient at Children’s Optimal Weight for Life Program, is featured on a new PBS Web video series called Living with My Type 2. The federal government recalls 2.1 million cribs; find out how to protect your child. The Origin of Species was published 150 years ago, but it remains as relevant as ever, particularly when it comes to our health. Injury prevention specialists say it’s up to parents and other gift-givers to make sure the toys are safe and age-appropriate. NECN tells the happy story of a family’s Thanksgiving reunion. Is there anything wrong with letting an 18-month-old watch the episode of Sesame Street that he loves?
Lois Lee, MD, MPH works in Children’s Emergency Department Injury Prevention Program
The holiday season brings to mind visions of children excitedly tearing into wrapping paper, eager to see if they got the present they wanted. Parents look on, sharing in the moment of joy. But to make sure this is truly a happy time for the whole family, it’s up to parents and other gift-givers to make sure the toys given are safe and age-appropriate. (Read Trouble in Toyland, the 24th annual survey of toy safety by MASSPIRG, the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group.)
Choking hazards from small parts, balls and balloons continue to be a leading cause of toy-related deaths and injuries. Full story »