Report: Parents should be cautious of these toys ahead of holidays

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new report outlines the dangers of some toys ahead of the holiday shopping and gifting season.

The 2023 Trouble in Toyland report warned specifically about smart toys and the “threats that come with some of them,” the 55-page report from U.S. PIRG Education Fund said.

“Multiple toys from major manufacturers have been discontinued in recent years after research from various groups showed that children’s voices, images, locations and other information was being improperly collected or hacked,” the annual report said.

Kian Zozobrado, the communications manager at TexPIRG Education Fund, said the report focuses on smart toys because they’re a growing interest to families and the smart toy industry is growing.

Some of the issues include privacy concerns and whether the toy connects to wireless internet or Bluetooth. This connects children to outside the home and potentially connects the children to other people, Zozobrado said. Parents should also talk to their children about who they communicate with and to not share personal information via toys.

“Innocuous pictures that kids might be taking of themselves and their friends can sometimes be accessed by individuals that parents do not want to have access to,” Zozobrado said.

U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, said it’s important to keep a close eye on the size of what you’re purchasing as well as the size of the children who will play with those toys.

“Safety does begin with awareness,” Doggett said.

Other toys that the report warned about included water beads, high-powered magnets and recalled toys.

Doggett said the water beads look like candy and are small. If ingested, the beads can grow in the body and lead to asphyxiation. He added that the magnets can cause damage to internal organs.

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