Parents warned about toys and video games not for young kids

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Toyland trouble

PHOENIX - It is that time of year when stores are packed with parents looking for that perfect holiday toy but consumer advocates remind parents to watch for dangerous toys this holiday season.

Parents are being warned about a silly fish squirter, along with the red super car and printed balloons. Each contains dangerous traces of lead and toxic phthalates, chemicals linked to birth defects.

Even though millions of toys were recalled last year the Consumer Product Safety Commission says some of those items are still on store shelves.

Liz Hitchcock explains, "Congress intended that toys containing phthalates couldn't be sold after February 2009 but last week the CPSC issued a legal opinion telling manufacturers they could keep selling their hazardous toys until they run out."

The new law lowers the amount of lead that can be in toys and makes it easier to track where toys are made. However, watchdogs say potential hazards still lurk in children's jewelry, toy cars and soft plastics.

The National Institute on Media and the Family, a watchdog group for the video game industry, has also created a Top 10 list of video games that should be avoided for kids.

The "Arizona Public Interest Research Group" showed off some of the toys they call hazardous this holiday season as well - toys they say are toxic and pose choking hazards if in the wrong hands. The reason why "Kidstop Toys" in Scottsdale stresses the importance of first checking labels.

Make sure it has no lead, no facilates, and no pvcs.

New restrictions on what toys can contain take effect in February, but even then manufacturers can sell any stock that they have left over.

So this season it is buyer beware.

Be especially careful if you are shopping online or at second-hand stores.

And keep in mind toy boxes also warn of age appropriatness.

Look at the age recommendation by the manufacturer and ask store personnel.

A product could pass federal government standards for some ages but still not be appropriate for all kids of that age.