'Tis the season for stocking-stuffing. Shoppers will soon be flooding stores and scanning websites in search of the perfect holiday gifts for kids. But some toys might spell big trouble in toyland, according to consumer watchdog U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). On Nov. 22, the group issued its 26th Annual Survey of Toy Safety, spotlighting toys that don't meet standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and other health groups.
Which toys does PIRG peg as potentially dangerous? Keep clicking to find out...
Funny glasses (phthalates)
Research has linked exposure to so-called phthalates - compounds added to plastics to make them more flexible and durable - to birth defects, premature delivery, early onset of puberty, and low sperm counts. That's why the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act banned products with phthalate levels greater than 1000 parts-per-million (ppm).
These glasses from Joking Around contain 42,000 ppm of phthalates.
Sleep mask (phthalates)
This sleep mask from Claire's contains 77,000 ppm of phthalates - a whopping 77 times the allowed amount.
Little Hands Love book (lead)
Exposure to lead is linked to IQ deficits, ADHD, and motor difficulties in kids. Products manufactured after August 14, 2011 are only allowed to have 100 ppm of lead (the previous limit was 300 ppm). This children's book from Piggy Toes Press contains 720 ppm.
Whirly Wheel (lead)
LL's Whirly Wheel contains 3,700 ppm of lead - way above the 300 ppm limit.
Spritz medals (lead)
Spritz medals contain 140 ppm of lead, exceeding the CPSC's new standard. PIRG actually supports the American Academy of Pediatrics lead recommendations, which suggest a limit of just 40 ppm.
Hello Kitty eyeshadow/keychain (lead)
This Hello Kitty product contains 100 ppm of lead, equaling the CPSC lead limit for newly-manufactured toys. But PIRG says that's till 60 ppm too many.
Tinkerbell watch (lead)
Disney Fairy's Tinkerbell watch falls below the new government standards, at 91 ppm lead. That's still too high, says PIRG.
Peace Sign bracelet (lead)
This bracelet contains 74 ppm of lead, exceeding PIRG's standards.
Honda motorcycle (lead)
This toy bike from Honda contains 89 ppm of lead.
Dinosaur/sea life/turtles packs (choking)
The CSPC uses a "choke tube test" to see what products might be choking hazards. If a toy is marketed for kids under 6 and fits into the tube, it's considered a choking risk. Some toys on this list failed the test, others PIRG thinks are too close to comfort, and still may present a choking risk.
This dinosaur from a line of Greenbrier International toys raised a red flag among PIRG's testers.
Wooden blocks set (choking)
This block set from ToySmith contains small parts that are a choking hazard to children, according to PIRG.
Sesame Street doll (choking)
Oscar's trash-can lid comes off easily and flunked the choke test, according to PIRG.
HABA fruit in a bag (choking)
HABA's fruit may look pretty and pass the choke test, but they might still pose a risk, says PIRG. Even though they might be legally allowed, toys like this suggest the CPSC should increase the size of the choke tube tester, the organization said.
Green rubber grape (choking)
This green rubber grape from Iwako fits just enough in the choke tube test to cause concern. It should have a warning stating its risk, says PIRG.
Orange bear (choking)
The CSPSC says 4M2U's Orange Bear is a potential choking hazard for 3-6 year-old kids, and needs a label stating it.
Flat baby blocks/square counting block (choking)
Greenbrier International's baby blocks are missing a choke hazard warning label, PIRG says.
4 dollar box items (choking)
Rhode Island Novelty's assorted toy set fits in the choke tube tester, and is missing a warning label on its container, PIRG says.
Play ball x 2 (choking)
These small balls from Sqishland are missing choke hazard warning labels on their packaging.
Unlabeled bin balls and marbles (choking)
Think those bins of small balls are safe? Think again. Many small balls in unmarked bins fail the safety test for children under 3, says PIRG.
Ball cross-bow (choking)
Cross-bows like this one contain two small balls that are potential choking hazards, PIRG says, so the packaging needs a warning label.
Keep all balloons and balloon parts away from children under 8 years old, PIRG says - especially enticing ones promoting infant birthdays and iconic toddler characters. Pieces of burst balloons are choking hazards, which is why the group recommends young kids avoid them entirely.
Elmo's World talking cell phone (noise)
For "close-to-the-ear" toys, the CPSC allows a maximum of 65 dB of sound when the toy is 1 inch from the ear. This toy phone tested at 66-74 dB.
Victorious stereo headphones (noise)
These headphones exceeded the federal CPSC standard of 65 dB. "Excessive noise could damage child's hearing," according to PIRG.
Hotwheels, Super Stunt RAT BOM (noise)
CPSC standards for sound levels from toys that aren't meant to be held close are based on noises from toys kept 10 inches away. The CPSC's maximum allowed noise level for these toys is 85 dB. This toy tested at 90-93 dB, which could potentially damage a child's hearing, PIRG says.