Hazardous Toys

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The US Public Interest Research Group's latest holiday-time survey on dangerous toys names some old standards, like latex balloons, as well as newer gadgets like yo-yo water balls.

Both are described as potential choking hazards. And US PIRG says yo-yo water balls should be banned. The liquid-filled balls are attached to stretchy cords that can used to swing them overhead like a lasso.

Noise is another factor. US PIRG says hearing is key to a child's development and is easily damaged. Researchers point to things like toy electric guitars that appear to exceed voluntary standards.

US PIRG advises parents to use a choke-testing tube or a cardboard toilet paper roll to test small toys and parts. If a part fits, the toy isn't safe for young kids.

Still, the group says the overall picture is improving.