Trouble In Toyland 2019

34th Annual Toy Safety Report

Our 34th annual toy safety report.

Over the past 33 years, our annual reports have led to more than 150 recalls of unsafe toys, inspired legislation like the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, and empowered parents to take key actions to ensure toys are safe.


We’ve come a long way, but there is more to be done

While stronger safety standards have significantly reduced the number of dangerous toys for sale, problems remain. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, hundreds of thousands of children go to the emergency room every year for toy-related injuries. This year’s Trouble in Toyland report identifies three categories of hazards in toys: detectable dangers, hidden toxics and recalled toys.


We need to push for new and stronger safety standards

Small, powerful magnets used in various toys, including construction sets, educational tiles and sculpture kits can cause serious harm and even death when swallowed. Since a ban on these powerful magnets was overturned in 2016, they pose an ongoing threat to children. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission should propose a new safety standard for these rare-earth magnets.

The U.S. currently has no limit or warning label requirements for boron in children’s products. Without warning labels, parents are unaware of the potential danger that popular slime products pose. Policymakers should require labeling for children’s products with high boron concentrations and consider setting new health-based standards.


We need to make our recalls more effective

Since last year’s Trouble in Toyland report, 12 more toys were recalled due to a number of threats, including choking hazards, burn risks and more. Our recall system should require companies to directly notify customers through retailer partnerships, engage in recall marketing campaigns equivalent to those that sold the product, and directly notify child care centers of recalled products potentially being used in their facilities.



When toy shopping for the kids in your life, use this guide to help avoid toxics and other dangerous toys.

Toys with sound

What to watch for If a toy is too loud for you, it could be loud enough to damage your child’s hearing. Turn off the sound, remove the batteries or return the toy.


What to watch for Some slimes contain high levels of toxic boron. Consider making homemade alternatives without borax, or monitor your children at all times. If your child ingests a slime product, call Poison Control.

Fidget spinners and toys marketed to adults

What to watch for Some products, such as fidget spinners or children’s makeup, are not classified as toys and avoid certain safety standards. These products could contain higher levels of lead, choking risks and other hidden dangers. Avoid these “toys,” or watch your kids closely while they play.

Toys with small parts

What to watch for Toys marketed to ages six and older may contain small parts that are choking hazards for younger children. Parents should check all toys for age guidelines. Before your child plays with a toy for the first time, see if smaller parts fit through a toilet paper roll — indicating they pose a choking hazard. Watch our video to learn how.

“Hatching” toys

What to watch for Toys with break-apart packaging can become choking hazards for small children. Monitor your child while they open the packaging and promptly dispose of the pieces.


What to watch for Never let a child under three play with balloons, and monitor any child under 8, as balloons are the number one choking hazard for children.

Smart toys

What to watch for Sites, apps, games and smart toys may be collecting private data from your child and exposing their information to hackers. Consider running these smart toys without connections to the internet, evaluating privacy policies when you first activate them, and monitoring your child’s use. Check out this guide for more info.


What to watch for We found asbestos in Claire’s makeup last year. Makeup lacks necessary safety standards, which is why we recommend avoiding these products for children, or at a minimum purchasing alternatives without talc, as it can be a source of asbestos.

Toys with small magnets

What to watch for Swallowed magnets can cause serious internal damage by bunching together. Keep away from young children and monitor older children when they are playing with toys containing magnets.

Toy jewelry with toxic metals

What to watch for Cadmium is a toxic metal that can be used as a substitute for precious metals in inexpensive jewelry, including dress-up jewelry marketed to young children. If your child is under six, watch them carefully to confirm that they don’t swallow a piece of jewelry, chew on the item, or put it in their mouths. Also, consider avoiding cheaper, metallic jewelry that is imported.

Recalled toys sold secondhand

What to watch for Before using an old or pre-owned toy from an online marketplace, garage sale or passed down from a family member, parents should confirm that the product has not been recalled by visiting

Toys already in your home, school, or childcare facility

What to watch for A survey earlier this year by U.S. PIRG Education Fund found 1 in 10 surveyed childcare facilities still using recalled inclined sleepers, despite a heavily publicized recall. The same problem exists in the toy market, potentially to a greater extent, since many recalls receive less attention in the media, regardless of their risk.


Age ratings and safety labels shown on websites may not match the labels on the toys. Make sure to examine the actual packaging when the products arrive.




Read the full report


Photo credits—Top Image: Nomad Soul / Highlight boxes (clockwise): CSPC; Public Domain via; Barbara Rayman via WikiMedia, Dragon Images via Shutterstock; Public Domain via; Staff photo. Toy Safety Tip (top to bottom): Tatiana Popova /; somsak nitimongkolchai /; Ink Drop /; Anna Mente /; Public Domain CC0; Public Domain CC0; staff; Photo Spirit /; Oakozhan /; Public Domain CC0; staff photo; CSPC.