When the annual Trouble in Toyland toy safety report came out in previous years, most of the issues were choking hazards or broken bones. Now doctors are warning that technologically-advanced toys may be dangerous ones to watch.
In fact, the FBI hz issued a warning about one particular toy which was also banned in Germany.
“Most parents aren’t even thinking about that,” Palmetto Health pediatrician Dr. Duncan Norton said. “The doll named My Friend Cayla that is Bluetooth activated. It is an unsecured network and it constantly records the child, but this can easily be hacked.”
Dr. Norton warns toys with Bluetooth connectivity may be a serious safety threat. He said the unsecured networks used by these devices could be hacked and your family’s privacy — and possibly safety — could be compromised.
Several consumer groups complained to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission because the doll may violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a warning to consumers to “consider cyber security prior to introducing smart, interactive, internet-connected toys into their homes.” German regulators determined the toy violates the country’s electronic privacy laws.
Norton and the doctors at Palmetto Health surveyed the toys on the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s annual Trouble in Toyland toy safety report.
Other, traditional dangers include lead in toys and choking hazards.
“There was a fidget spinner that can be found at a local brand name store that had over 300 times the amount of lead that is allowed by the U.S. government in toys,” Norton said. Lead leads to irreversible health complications if ingested or inhaled, he said.
Norton recommends parents make sure they’re buying toys that are appropriate for the ages of their children.
Parents should encourage family members to consider age-appropriate toys when be purchasing toys as gifts. He also said parents should be firm if a family member gives a toy to their child that they do not think is appropriate.
As to what Norton recommends: toys that encourage physical activity such as bicycles, athletic equipment or scooters, along with the proper safety equipment of helmets, elbow pads and knee pads.
Before giving a toy as a gift, check to make sure it has not been recalled.