The California Public Interest Research Group released its 25th annual survey of toy safety and found that there are several items on store shelves that can be potentially hazardous. Many toys made for older children contain levels of lead thatcan cause developmental or behavioral problems in young children if ingested.
"A 3-year-old doesn't know the difference between a bright, orange shiny thing made for a 13-year-old so they may grab it, pick it up, shove it in their mouths and then danger starts," said Dr. Jeffrey Upperman, a pediatric surgeon at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
Parents and caregivers are urged to read labels and only buy age-appropriate toys. Dr. Upperman says parents need to be particularly aware of toys with small parts.
Doctors at Children's Hospital Los Angeles said the emergency room sees too many children who have choked on small toy parts.
Dr. Upperman said parents and teachers should be aware of what constitutes as a choking hazard.
A good measuring tool that everyone can use is a toilet paper roll. If something can fit inside the roll, then it's probably not a good idea to give to a child under the age of three.
CALPIRG suggests parents purchase age appropriate toys this holiday season.
"Children, toddlers, will put anything in their mouth and as they're chewing on products that have unsafe chemicals on them, that's when you start to see problems," said Jaafar Rizvi, a CALPIRG campus organizer.