Parents beware: Dangerous, recalled toys are still on sale. Here’s what to know
Parents shopping for their kids this holiday season need to be alert and carefully examine toys before they buy them because recalled and counterfeit toys are being sold online, a consumer report said Thursday.
The 37th annual “Trouble in Toyland” toy safety report by Washington-based US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) warned parents to be especially mindful of this hidden danger.
PIRG said that in October it was able to buy more than 30 recalled toys from several US-based online sellers, noting that it is illegal for retailers and online marketplaces to sell toys that have been recalled.
The report also said counterfeit toys that don’t necessarily meet mandatory US safety standards continue to be sold in stores and online.
The group was able to buy close to a dozen different types of toys that had been recalled — for reasons that ranged from choking hazards to laceration risk to potential poisoning — from sellers on Facebook Marketplace and eBay, as well as several online toy shops.
The toys included stuffed animals, action figures, activity balls for infants, musical toys, bath toys and a toddler’s riding toy, and a majority of them were bought new in the original packaging or new with tags.
“None of the other sellers flagged, stopped or sent a warning about any of our other purchases of recalled toys,” the report said.
The recalled toys that PIRG said it was able to purchase online included:
— DigitDots 3mm and 5mm Magnetic Balls from HD Premier: These were recalled in March 2022 for injury to the digestive system if two or more magnets are swallowed.
— Kidoozie Play Tents and Playhouses by Epoch Everlasting Play: These were recalled in July 2022 because the fabric playhouses and play tents fail to meet industry flammability standards.
— Forky 11″ Plush Toys from Pixar’s Toy Story: The toy was recalled in July 2019 because the googly plastic eyes on the toy can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.
— Early Learning Centre Little Senses Lights & Sounds Shape Sorter Toys from Addo Play: The toy set was recalled in October 2022 because the red cube can come apart and release a small white ball, posing a choking hazard.
— 6-inch Aflac plush promotional ducks from Communicorp: The plush ducks were recalled in June 2022 because components contain excessive levels of toxic phthalates, which are dangerous because they can negatively impact brain and physical development in young children. The recall covered a variety of the plush duck characters, including Accident Duck, Business Duck, Fishing Duck, Police Duck, PGA Duck, One Day Pay Duck, Heisman Duck and Lifeguard Duck.
— Blue’s Clues Foot to Floor Ride-on Toys from Huffy Corp: The toy was recalled in August 2022 because the ride-on toy can tip forward when a young child is riding it, posing fall and injury hazards.
When the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and a toy manufacturer announce a recall, that means the toy must immediately be removed from store shelves and online marketplaces. Federal law prohibits the sale of products subject to a recall ordered by the CPSC or a voluntary recall by the company in consultation by the CPSC, the report said.
PIRG offered this advice regarding the best way to avoid counterfeit toys: If the only place to buy a popular, hard-to-find toy is a website you’ve never heard of or that looks sketchy, there may be a reason for that.
The toys may not be genuine, the report said, and may not meet safety standards for parts that can break or levels of toxins, which are common in plastic toys.
Reprise Records via AP
Neil Young is releasing his 1972 album “Harvest” as a 50th anniversary edition. Young’s fourth solo album remains one of his most beloved, with the songs “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man.” The box sets will be released Dec. 2 on vinyl and CD, boasting the original album, three studio outtakes, and an unreleased live 1971 BBC solo performance on CD, LP and DVD. Also included is the film “Harvest Time,” a previously unseen two-hour documentary capturing the “Harvest” recording sessions. The package also contains a hardbound book and fold-out poster. Cost: $150.
Doc Martens via AP
The Clash and Dr. Martens — two British icons — have gotten together again for some punk-approved footwear.
An eight-eye, high-shine boot ($180) has a military green base, and a three-eye shoe ($140) has a cherry red base. The heels are marked with The Clash’s logo, and each pair comes with a set of dog tags based on those worn by the band, and seven sets of laces inspired by the colors of their most iconic albums. Here's a way to “Rock the Casbah” in style.
Weldon Owen/Insight Editions via AP
You can't talk about the birth of rock ‘n’ roll without talking about Sun Records, which recorded Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. To celebrate Sun's 70th anniversary comes “The Birth of Rock ’n’ Roll: The Illustrated History of Sun Records & the 70 Records that Changed the World” (Simon and Schuster). It's written by Peter Guralnick and Colin Escott, and has entries for such hits as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Breathless,” “I Walk the Line,” “Mystery Train” and “Good Rockin’ Tonight." Cost: $60.
UMC/EMI via AP
Paul McCartney's three solo albums have been packaged into a single box. His first, “McCartney,” was released in 1970 and features “Every Night,” “Junk” and “Maybe I’m Amazed.” “McCartney II” came out in 1980 and contained “Coming Up,” “Waterfalls” and “Temporary Secretary.” The third, in 2020, had tracks “Find My Way” and “Women and Wives.” The vinyl versions come in creamy white or black, and there is a three-CD set. They include three photo prints with notes from McCartney about each album. Cost: $40-100.
Scent Beauty via AP
Whitney Houston's estate has released a perfume inspired by the singer’s “luminous” personality, warmth and zest for life. Simply named “Whitney,” the scent features notes of pear and citrus, balanced by gardenia, ylang-ylang and jasmine. A touch of amber grounds the fragrance with a warm, sensual note, according to its maker. The bottle was similarly inspired, taking its tall, sleek silhouette from Houston’s “elegant stature.” Cost: $9.95 for a 3 ml sample.
Decca via AP)
Limited edition vinyl box sets from legendary jazz vocalists Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald will make anyone's holiday brighter. Never before released on vinyl, the four-LP box collection, “Billie Holiday: The Complete Decca Recordings” has 50 tracks, including “Guilty” and “Solitude,” and a 20-page booklet. Cost: $90.
BMG via AP
In honor of the 40th anniversary of Iron Maiden's third album, “The Number of the Beast,” the heavy metal kings have released a three-disc vinyl rerelease. That was the album that first featured Bruce Dickinson on vocals and catapulted the band to international stardom, with songs like “Run To the Hills” and "Murders In the Rue Morgue.” In the set, the band is also offering for the first time on vinyl their live concert from March 1982 at Hammersmith Odeon in London, “Beast Over Hammersmith.” Cost: $49.50.
BMG via AP
“The Byrds: 1964-1967” is a 400-page coffee-table photo book that was curated by the band’s three surviving founding members. It is available in three versions, signed by the surviving members, Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn and David Crosby. The book features more than 500 images from legendary photographers such as Henry Diltz, Barry Feinstein, Curt Gunther, Jim Marshall, Linda McCartney, Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal and Guy Webster, as well as restored images from the Columbia Records archives. Cost: $125-$1,700.
Downtown Records via AP
Fans of our feathered friends may love a massive, 20-LP set containing 242 recordings of original songs and readings inspired by or incorporating birdsong — all to benefit the National Audubon Society. Some of the artists included in The Birdsong Project are Mark Ronson, Beck, Karen O, Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, Robert Pattinson, Jonathen Franzen, The Flaming Lips, Bobby Cannavale, Greta Gerwig and Ad-Rock. There's also a 60-page book with essays from Randall Poster and Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg, and 27 artists contributed original paintings and illustrations. Cost: $400-$440 depending on outlet.
Abrams Books via AP
Who has the best album in the land? Rolling Stone magazine has weighed into such a fraught and contentious debate with “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time." This is a book that will spark a thousand arguments — is “Superfly” by Curtis Mayfield better than “Red” by Taylor Swift and is Pearl Jam's “Ten” correctly ranked above “The Bends” by Radiohead? The magazine got its ranking by polling critics and musicians like Stevie Nicks, Questlove and Beyoncé. Let the debates begin (likely as soon as this gift is unwrapped). Cost: $50.
Dangerous, recalled toys are still on sale.