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Parenting

“10 Worst Toys” List for 2017

2:00

Since 1973, an annual list of the top 10 most dangerous toys has been issued by the Boston based non-profit organization, World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.)

This year’s list includes such favorites as fidget spinners, a Wonder Woman Battle-Action Sword and a Spider-Man Drone.

Strings, small parts, rigid surfaces, projectile pieces and toys that emit toxic substances are all potentially unsafe when it comes to toys, warned WATCH President Joan Siff and Director James Swartz at a press conference.

"It's alarming that there are so many toys out there that are unsafe," Siff told USA TODAY. "These are not the only ones." Since December, there have been 15 toy recalls in the U.S., according to Siff. 

The Toy Association, an industry group, says the lists are unnecessary and only create panic among consumers.

Both sides agree that parents should examine toys before giving them to children to look for any potential hazard.

Here’s this year’s WATCH list:

1.     Itty bittys baby plush stacking toy by Hallmark. The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall on the product on Aug. 31 because of the small fabric hats and bows that were detachable and posed a choking hazard. But WATCH said they purchased the toy online after the recall was announced.

2.     Pull Along Pony by Tolo Toys Limited. WATCH said the product violates a federal law that requires that strings on playpen and crib toys be less than 12 inches long. The Tolo toy’s cord is 19 inches long. But the Toy Association said pull-along toys are an exception to this rule because the purpose is to teach motor skills.

3.     Wonder Woman Battle-Action Sword by Mattel. The nonprofit warns consumers that the stiff plastic sword can cause facial damage or other injuries to children.

4.     Hand Fidgetz Spinners by Kipp Brothers. Fidget spinners are meant for antsy kids, but WATCH said many come with small parts that can easily become loose or pulled off.

5.     Spider-Man Spider-Drone Official Movie Edition by Marvel and Skyrocket Toys. The drone comes with rapidly moving blades to help propel it into the air. The toy comes with a warning to keep moving parts away from fingers, hair, eyes and other body parts. WATCH said this is dangerous for children, which the drone is marketed toward.

6.     Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt Crossbow by Hasbro and Nerf.com. The crossbow toy can cause eye and facial injuries. WATCH said the crossbow is inappropriate for small children.

7.     Slackers Slackline Classic Kit by Brand 44.This outdoor tightrope is marketed as an activity for all ages but comes with a warning of “severe injury,” including a chance for “strangulation hazard, especially with children.”

8.     The Oval Xylophone by Plan Toys Inc. and Plan Creations. The wooden instrument can be found online and is marketed to children as young as 12 months old. WATCH said that the toy does not come with a warning regarding the 9-and-a-half-inch-long stick, which could be placed in the child’s mouth and obstruct the child’s airway.

9.     Jetts Heel Wheels by Razor USA. The mini-roller skate-like devices are meant to be attached to the back of a child’s shoes to create the effect of a rear-wheel roller skate. The product comes with sparklers on the back that spark while moving. The manufacturer warns users to “keep sparks away from eyes, hair, exposed skin and clothing. Sparks can burn.”

10. Brianna Babydoll by Melissa & Doug. The dolls are marketed to children as young as 18 months, but have removable clothes and ponytail holders, which WATCH said could be a choking hazard.

Some parents may find the list helpful and others may think it’s nothing to get worked up about. The best advice seems to be to consider your child’s playing habits and age. Some kids are harder on toys than others. Infants and toddlers like to pull things apart and put things in their mouths – look for choking hazards. Inspect the toys with safety in mind and don’t assume that a well-known brand’s toys are always safe. Keep abreast of product safety recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at https://www.cpsc.gov

Story source: Kellie Ell, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/retail/2017/11/14/10-worst-toys-of-2017-list/862445001/

 

 

Daily Dose

Holiday Gifts

1:30 to read

Despite it being a busy “sick” season in my office, it is also a fun time of year. The office is decorated for the holidays and it is a great time to talk to my “verbal” patients about what they want for Christmas or Hanukkah. 

Discussing gifts serves two purposes, #1 it lets me get an idea of a child’s language and articulation and #2 it keeps me in the loop as to what to  buy for my nieces and nephews!!   (they always think I get the best gifts...they don’t know I have a bit of help from hundreds of patients).

So...the most interesting thing is that not ALL children want electronic toys and gifts.  There are still a number of patients who are telling me they want American Girl dolls, Tonka trucks, Thomas the Train sets, Legos of all kinds and for all ages, books (yes one 9 year old told me she has a list of 35 books she wants to get so she can get an award at school), Elsa and Ana dolls, and Transformers. ( wish I had kept all of that stuff my boys had...everything makes a comeback!)

There are also kids who tell me that they want an iPad (yes, even a 5 year old), iTouch, IiPhone, (I guess pretty much anything Apple sells), Minecraft games, Nintendo and XBbox, talking dolls and remote control drones.

So...what to get this holiday season?  

I would suggest that if you have a child who is 6 or younger you resist the urge to buy ANYTHING that requires batteries! This means that you go to the back of the toy store, past all of the new and “cool” children’s electronics and head for puzzles, blocks, books, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, crafts to make jewelry, crayons, coloring books, board games.....dolls, push toys, Brio train sets, Matchbox cars, puppets and paints and easels.  The list of wonderful “old fashioned”, hands on creative toys is quite long. Toys that allow a child to use their imagination and create their own story, rather than one told to them on an electronic screen. 

There will be plenty of time for I-pads, Nintendo, remote control cars an dolls, but early childhood should still be about child’s play.

Good luck...I know you can do this!  Many of these toys will last a lifetime and no tears when the batteries don’t work!

 

Your Child

Asbestos Found in Children’s Crayons and Toys

2:00

Coloring with crayons has been an American tradition since the late 1800s.  Since that time, the wax crayon has been instrumental in teaching children how to draw and imagine the world in a rainbow of colors.

Although the words “non-toxic” appear on crayon boxes designated for children’s use, a new report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Action Fund says that asbestos fibers have been found in crayons and other toys sold in the United States.

The fibers were found in four brands of crayons and two children’s crime-scene toy fingerprint kits.

The contaminated crayons included Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crayons, Disney's Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Jumbo Crayons and Saban's Power Rangers Super Megaforce Jumbo Crayons and ones by Amscan, according to the new report.

Asbestos was also found in two crime lab toys: EduScience's Deluxe Forensics Lab Kit, and Inside Intelligence's Secret Spy Kit.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes that asbestos, which is composed of long, thin mineral fibers, once was common in insulation material.

Though tiny and invisible to the naked eye, airborne asbestos fibers are easily inhaled. With time, scarring, inflammation and breathing impairment can occur, as can lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lining of the lungs and abdomen, according to the NIH.

Asbestos is no longer widely used in manufacturing in the United States. It is banned in nearly all other developed nations, the research group said.

EWG hired an independent company, Scientific Analytical Institute from Greensboro, N.C., to conduct so-called transmission electron microscopy tests to look for asbestos. This is said to be the most sensitive and accurate method of testing available.

EWG said that a second independent lab reconfirmed the crayons and toys that tested positive.

"Just a couple of fibers can lodge in your lungs and be there forever," said Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the Washington, D.C. based group. "And there's very clear evidence that asbestos leads to two forms of cancer, and thousands and thousands of Americans have been killed by fiber exposure."

Former U.S. Assistant Surgeon General Richard Lemen welcomed the report.

"These are important findings, because asbestos is being placed in children's products," said Lemen, now an adjunct professor with Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta.

"Even if the absolute risk is relatively low, children are more vulnerable to toxic material and carcinogens," he said. "And because they are so young they have a longer latency in which to develop these diseases, which are known to be diseases that develop over time."

The crayons were purchased between February and May of this year at two national chains -- Party City and Dollar Tree -- in a suburban county near San Francisco. The group said it ordered the two crime scene toys through Amazon.com and Toys"R"Us.com.

For analysis, 28 brands of crayons were tested and 21 toy fingerprint kits. All the products that tested positive were made in China.

A spokeswoman for Toys "R" Us, which distributes the EduScience Deluxe Forensics Lab Kit, responded to the report, saying customer safety is the company's highest priority.

"We require that every product we carry meets or exceeds all applicable state and federal laws, industry standards, codes and requirements. At this time, we are reviewing the referenced report, along with supplier test reports, to ensure full compliance to our strict safety standards," Kathleen Waugh, vice president of corporate communications, said in a statement.

The tests discovered the highest concentration of asbestos was found in the toy crime-scene fingerprint kits.

If your child is one of the millions that play with crayons or the crime lab kits, be sure to check the brand to make sure they are not one of the contaminated products or kits that tested positive for asbestos.

Source: Alan Mozes, http://consumer.healthday.com/cancer-information-5/lung-cancer-news-100/asbestos-found-in-kids-crayons-toy-crime-kits-701117.html

 

 

 

 

Your Toddler

Target Recalls Water-Absorbing Easter Toys

1:15

You may want to check the toy eggs your child received around the Easter holiday to make sure he or she does not have one of the more than 560,000 water-absorbing Easter egg and dinosaur toys being recalled.

Target is voluntarily recalling Hatch & Grow Easter Eggs, Easter Grow Toys and Hatch Your Own Dino Egg product due to the possibility of a “serious ingestion hazard, “ according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

If swallowed, the toy can expand inside a child's body and cause "intestinal obstructions, resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration, and could be life threatening," according to the announcement. Surgery is required to remove the toy. Medical professionals and parents should be aware that there is a possibility that the toys might not show up on an x-ray.

Consumers should contact Target at 800- 440-0680 between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT Monday through Sunday, online at www.target.com and click on “Recalls” at the bottom of the page, then on “School/Stationery/Seasonal” for more information, or the “Product Recalls” tab on Target’s Facebook page.

This recall involves Hatch & Grow Easter Eggs, Easter Grow Toys and Hatch Your Own Dino. Hatch & Grow Easter Eggs and Easter Grow Toys have model number 234-25-1200 on the back of the product’s packaging. Hatch Your Own Dino Egg has model number 234-09-0016 on the label inserted in the product’s packaging. The pink, blue, or purple Hatch & Grow Easter Eggs include a white bunny, brown bunny, or butterfly.  The Easter Grow Toys include a yellow chick, brown bunny, or white bunny. The Hatch Your Own Dino Eggs are purple or yellow/green and contains one of eleven dinosaurs.

The products were sold at Target stores February 2017 through March 2017, for about $1.00.

Currently, there have not been any incidents reported.

Story source: https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/Target-Recalls-Water-Absorbing-Toys

Daily Dose

Fidget Spinners

1:30 to watch

Does your child have a fidget spinner?  Thank goodness school is coming to an end just as this craze is getting crazier! Not only are some schools banning fidget spinners altogether, there have recently been concerns over choking.  

 

While fidget spinners have warnings about choking hazards, 2 children have been hospitalized after ingesting and choking on parts of the spinner. Both of these children required surgery to remove the piece of the spinner that they had “accidentally swallowed”. Neither of these children were under the age of 3 years (the recommended age to avoid using a spinner). It seems that children of all ages put things in their mouths (fingernails, pencils, coins) and in several cases pieces of the spinner have fallen apart. 

 

I have recently noticed my patients playing with fidget spinners. Several little boys were fighting over their different colored fidget spinners just the other day, before their mom took them all away!  They were showing me how they “were supposed to help manage their attention and focus”…but they looked like a distraction to me and I can only imagine if 20 kids in one class have them…all “fidget spinning” at once.  Sounds like a few minutes of extra recess might be a better idea?

 

Fidget spinners have been around for some time, and were initially thought to be
a “stress relieving toy” which would help certain people focus.  But, there seems to be “ no research into the efficacy or safety of fidget spinners to help manage the symptoms of ADHD, anxiety or any other mental health conditions”, according to the director of the ADHD program at Duke University.  

 

While these may only be a craze for the rest of the school year they are inexpensive and easily purchased at multiple toy stores and on- line. Do not let children under the age of 3 years play with this toy!! For children ages 3-6 I would make sure to talk to them about choking dangers and never to put the toy in their mouths, and be supervised when playing.  For older children I would again make them aware of the choking issues and even show them x-rays of the toy lodged in the esophagus. This might be another “teaching moment” to NEVER put toys into your mouth (or coins or batteries….) because accidental ingestions do occur. Remind them to only play with them with their hands as some toys have been known to fall apart. 

 

I bet this craze may be short lived once school is out and summer activities provide even more diversion than a 3 pronged toy that turns into a blur when twirled on your finger!!  I am not investing in one.  

 

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