Hazardous toys to avoid

Last updated: 11/21/2017

Despite progress in recent years, some toys and children’s products still have the potential to cause harm. Depending on the materials used and the quality and nature of the product itself, the risks for children posed by toys and other products range from choking on small parts to suffering from dangerous chemical reactions in the body. In extreme cases, the consequences can be fatal.

Here are the hazardous toys we found in our research this year:


Our lab tests revealed excessive levels of lead in two models of fidget spinners. The Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass center circle tested for 33,000 ppm of lead and its arm tested for 22,000 ppm of lead. 

Choking Hazards

Our researchers identified three simple games for children between ages three and six years that contain small parts, yet lack a warning label or any age labeling. Small parts are acceptable in toys for children this age, provided the toy includes a choke hazard warning. We purchased a “Peg Game” as well as “Football” and “Golf” travel game sets containing very small parts that pose a choke hazard. 


Almost all of the balloons packages we inspected in stores included the required warning label, complete with language warning that children under eight can choke on balloons and balloon parts. However, we continue to find balloons marketed to children under eight that also include an indication that the product is for children ages 3 and older, or contain a second label with a small parts warning that the balloons are not for children under 3 years, which can be confusing for shoppers. Additionally, we found one balloon set which did not contain the requisite warning label that children under eight can choke on balloons and balloon parts.

Data-Collecting Toys

The number of connected products grows daily. Websites, mobile apps and products, including children’s watches and toys, are all capable of collecting information about and tracking users, including children under 13.

As an example of a toy that may pose privacy problems, we list a popular doll, “My Friend Cayla.” The doll has been banned in Germany  for privacy violations and is the subject of a complaint by several consumer groups to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission because it may violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. 

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