Baby bird and a dinosaur make bad toy list

Advocacy group releases annual list of 'trouble' toys, citing chemicals in the Pretty Princess Puppy Purse and 'excessively loud' Playskool Triceratops.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all RSS FEEDS (close)
By Aaron Smith, staff writer

The Stompers Triceratops is loud enough to cause hearing loss, said PIRG.

NEW YORK ( -- An "excessively loud" triceratops and a little girl's chemical-laced purse were among the items listed in the U.S. Public Interest Research Group's 2009 list of dangerous toys released Tuesday.

The 24th annual report, "Trouble in Toyland," targeted 16 examples of toys in 3 categories: toys that it considers dangerously loud, or containing small parts that may present choking hazards for small children, or containing toxic chemicals or lead.

The toys are made or marketed by various companies throughout the world.

Small parts

In the first category, the PIRG, a public advocacy organization, listed toys that "pose potential choking hazards." This included three toys that "may violate" the ban on small parts for children under three, such as the Creative Wood Stacking Rings from Zaidy Products, the Real Wood Shape Sorter Barn from P&C Enterprise and an "unnamed play food tray" from World Market.

The PIRG also identified several toys with small parts that come uncomfortably close to violating bans, thereby posing potential hazards. This includes one of the Baby Born toy kids from Zapf Creation, the Pizza Planet Gift Pak from Mattel, the FurReal Baby Bird from Hasbro (HAS) and the Worky tool set from Nemmer.

"Although the toys do not violate the letter of the law, these parts could block a child's airway given their shape and size," the report said.

The report said that the baby bottle included with the FurReal Baby Bird "barely passes the small parts test." But Hasbro said the "allegations are false."

"The FurReal Friends product does not contain small parts, is properly age graded for kids four and up, and the packaging contains the appropriate labeling," said a Hasbro spokeswoman, in an e-mail.

Excessively loud

The PIRG also listed several toys deemed "excessively loud" at close range, meaning that they match or exceed 85 decibels within 25 centimeters of the toy, presenting a risk of hearing loss.

The organization pegged the loud toys as the Kota and Pals Stompers Triceratops from Playskool, the Secret Saturdays Cryptid Claw from Mattel (MAT, Fortune 500), the Laugh & Learn Learning Phone from Fisher Price and the Bright Lights Phone from VTech.

Hasbro said, in an e-mail to, that its triceratops "complies with all sound requirements."

VTech said, in a letter to, "We disagree with the set-up under which PIRG tested the Bright Lights Phone, and hence also disagree with its conclusions."

Lead and chemicals

Five products made the list for containing lead or "potentially toxic chemicals."

This includes a Touch and Feel Cloth Book called "Big Rex and Friends" from Priddy Books. The PIRG said that a red dot on one of the pages contains lead. Likewise, the Alligator Cell Phone charm from the Claire's retail chain also contains lead, the organization said.

The organization also identified a Collector's Series toy duck that has lead paint on its face and body. The organization said that the manufacturer of this toy was unknown, but that it was purchased at a Dollar Tree store.

A Dollar Tree spokesman told that PIRG informed his company of the lead-tainted duck on Oct. 29, and it was removed from stores at that time.

The PIRG identified two toys containing "potentially toxic" chemicals known as phthalates, including Pretty Princess Puppy Purse from Claire's and the Elmo Lunch Bag from Fast Forward New York. (See correction.)

A spokesman for Claire's, Steven Anreder, said the retailer is no longer selling the alligator phone charm. He also said the charm and the puppy purse are not toys.

The organization initially reported that Sassy manufactured the Elmo Lunch Bag. But Rick Locker, a lawyer representing Sassy, told that Sassy had nothing to do with the product. He sent the PIRG a letter requesting them to "cease and desist from disseminating erroneous information." The PIRG retracted the misidentification and said it regretted the error.

Efforts to reach other companies named in the report were not immediately successful.

A toy industry group reacted to the PIRG list.

"Protecting children will always be the toy industry's highest priority," said Joan Lawrence, vice president of safety standards for the Toy Industry Association, in an e-mail to "Consumers have every reason to trust the safety of the three billion toys sold in America each year."

Jonathan Samet, publisher of, an industry observer, said that he didn't want to minimize PIRG's warnings, but the noise warnings did not concern him as much as choking and lead.

"Choking is obviously the biggest issue," he said. "Right now, I think safety testing is at its highest level that it's probably ever been. If you are concerned, then take the toy away from the child and either return the toy to the retailer or just throw it away."

The PIRG released its list just three days ahead of Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year. This year, Black Friday retail sales are expected to outpace 2008, with 16% more shoppers participating.

Correction: An earlier version of this article, because of erroneous information released by U.S. PIRG, listed an incorrect manufacturer of the Elmo Lunch Bag.  To top of page

They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
10 of the most luxurious airline amenity kits When it comes to in-flight pampering, the amenity kits offered by these 10 airlines are the ultimate in luxury More
7 startups that want to improve your mental health From a text therapy platform to apps that push you reminders to breathe, these self-care startups offer help on a daily basis or in times of need. More
5 radical technologies that will change how you get to work From Uber's flying cars to the Hyperloop, these are some of the neatest transportation concepts in the works today. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.