Toy safety goes mobile this year in Illinois

Holiday shopping season is in full swing, and one annual toy safety report is going mobile this year, helping parents make informed decisions before they hit the checkout line.

The Illinois Public Interest Research Group’s “Trouble In Toyland” report, which it has issued since 1985, went mobile this year, bringing to your smartphone information about toys that have been deemed unsafe for children, but still sold at stores nationwide.

View the site!

How safe is your kids’ holiday wish list? Browse the Illinois PIRG’s Toy Safety widget below to see.

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The Toy Safety mobile website, available attoysafety.mobi, lists toys recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and includes examples of dangerous toys for kids in different age groups.

“We just realized after 25 years of doing the report that we always have a bulky, 50-page report which is not really useful when you’re out shopping,” says Brian Imus, director of the Illinois PIRG.

At least 12 children died from toy-related injuries last year and more than 250,000children were treated in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries.The report and website monitor hazards including lead and other chemical toxins and choking hazards.

Imus says the group thinks like a parent when putting together the guide. “We go out and shop and ask the same types of questions parents would ask themselves,” he says.

For example, the Lokmok Baby’s First Train advertises that it’s appropriate for kids 1 and up, but the round pegs included in the set, less than half an inch, can easily be swallowed by babies, landing the train on the unsafe toys list.

Not only can you see pictures and description some of the unsafe toys on your phone, but you can also watch videos that show you how to test if a toy is dangerous. For example, in order to test if parts of a toy or game are too small, see if the parts fit down a toilet paper roll. If they do, they’re small enough for kids to choke on.

And the Toy Safety website is bringing parents into the safety effort.

If you see a toy you think is unsafe, you can use the mobile site to report it to PIRG. To access the site from your phone, visittoysafety.mobi, and for more information on Trouble In Toyland, check out the Illnois PIRG website at illinoispirg.org.

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