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Black Friday marks the day when the Christmas shopping frenzy officially
starts, and many will be looking for good deals on toys.
But a lower price doesn't necessarily mean a toy is a good choice. That
popular, small item may be dangerous and could cause injury or death.
Other toys may have toxic substances that could cause long-term health
issues. Or a toy may just be too loud and have the potential for causing
That was the message given at a news conference Tuesday at the Deschutes
Public Library in downtown Bend with Matthew Orchant, a member of the Oregon
Student Public Interest Group. OSPIG is a consumer advocate group, and this
year's event marks the group's 26th annual “Trouble in Toyland” safety
“We want to get this information out before Black Friday, because shoppers
are going to be buying lots of toys,” Orchant said. “They need to know what
to look out for.”
Some toys are considered dangerous, Orchant said, because they are small and
can be easily swallowed by a small child.
Between 2005 and 2009, 49 children choked to death in the United States
after getting a small toy caught in their throats, he said.
“Small children put anything in their mouths that they can,” Orchant said.
“Some things, like those small baby bracelets, or small action figures, are
easily swallowed and can get stuck in their throats.”
He said one way to screen for too-small toys is to take the cardboard
cylinder from a roll of toilet paper and see if the toy will pass through
it. If it does, that means the item is too small for the average 3-year-old
to safely play with.
About 80 percent of the toys sold in the United States are made in China,
and the two countries have vastly different safety standards, he said.
“Many of the toys made in China don't meet common-sense standards,” Orchant
said. “One example is excessively loud items.”
Anything with a noise level that exceeds 85 decibels when measured from 10
inches away should be considered too loud for children. Prolonged exposure
to those sound levels could eventually cause permanent hearing damage,
“Generally, if adults think the toy seems too loud, it is too loud for
Rep. Jason Conger, R-Bend, attended the event. He said his interest in toxic
chemical levels in children comes from being the father of five and having
his 11⁄2-year-old daughter diagnosed with high lead levels.
At the time, he said, the family was living in an older home in
Massachusetts that, unknown to the landlord or the Congers, had lead paint.
A routine medical exam revealed high levels of lead on her skin. It was
probably from lead dust, Conger said, and the family moved immediately.
Subsequent tests showed no lead traces deeper in her body. Today, Conger
said his daughter is 12 and shows no long-term effects.
“My daughter felt fine, and had no symptoms of any sort of poisoning, but it
could have gotten worse,” Conger said. “My interest comes from that
experience, and we have to do whatever we can to keep our children safe.”