Report: Consumer Protection

Trouble In Toyland 2016

The 31st Annual Survey of Toy Safety
Released by: Maryland PIRG Foundation

For more than 30 years, the Maryland PIRG Foundtation has conducted an annual survey of toy safety. These reports have led to more than 150 recalls and other regulatory actions over the years, and have helped educate the public and policymakers on the need for continued action to protect the health and wellbeing of children.

Toys are safer than ever before, thanks to decades of work by product safety advocates, parents, the leadership of Congress, state legislatures, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Maryland PIRG Foundation staff examined toys recalled by the CPSC between January 2015 and October 2016 and looked at whether they may be available for sale online.

Since January 2015, the CPSC, in cooperation with manufacturers and distributors, has announced over 40 recalls of toys and children’s products totaling over 35 million units. We found that over a dozen recalled toys may be available for sale. Parents should also check for recalled toys that could still be in their homes.

Despite recent progress in making toys safer, toys are still being recalled for hazards such as lead, choking hazards, and overheating. To keep children safe from potentially hazardous toys, there is still more to do.

Policymakers should continue building upon recent progress in the strengthening of toy safety standards by:

  • Maintaining the CPSC’s funding and authorities to protect the public; and
  • Understanding that regulations protect health and safety.

The CPSC should improve recall effectiveness:

  • Engage in efforts to increase consumer and researcher awareness of the public hazard database;
  • Shop with Maryland PIRG Foundation’s Toy Safety Tips, available at;
  • Examine toys carefully for hazards before purchase – and don’t trust that they are safe just because they are on a store shelf. Check the CPSC recall database at before buying toys online;
  • Report unsafe toys or toy-related injuries to the CPSC at;
  • Remember, toys on our list are presented as examples of previously recalled toys only. Other hazards may exist;
  • Review the recalled toys list in this report and compare it to toys in your children’s toy boxes;
  • Put small parts, or toys broken into small parts, out of reach. Regularly check that toys appropriate for your older children are not left within reach of children who still put things in their mouths.

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