Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Potentially Dangerous Toys to Be Aware of this Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of year! As people start heading to the stores to purchase neat toys for their loved ones, it is important to be aware of the toys that could pose a potential danger to children. A consumer safety group called PIRG (Public Interest Research Groups) recently released its annual report on dangerous toys this holiday season. Some of the toys that made this list can also be potential poisons. Here are some of the things to look out for this holiday season.

Slime- you see it everywhere these days due to its popularity with children. There are products that now sell a set with of all the ingredients needed for children to make their own slime. One of these slime making kits from Nickelodeon, is labeled “Frozen Treats Slime” and is marketed as smelling just like ice cream. But the packaging also states that the set contains harmful ingredients that should not be ingested. These slime packages can be a lot of fun for children, but it is extremely important that they are being monitored by an adult when playing.  Slime is not made for ingesting and should be kept out of children’s mouths.
Some slime products contain a substance called borax. Borax is a naturally occurring mineral, but natural is not synonymous to safe. Ingesting borax could cause adverse reactions such as:

·         Rash or burn to skin or mouth
·         Nausea and Vomiting
·         Respiratory problems
·         Long term reproductive health issues

Ingesting even a small amount of borax could potentially cause vomiting and diarrhea.  Larger amounts could cause more severe symptoms.  If you or a loved one consumes slime with borax, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Texas Poison Center Network for help at 1-800-222-1222. The call is free and is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are looking for a slime recipe that doesn’t include borax, click this link to learn more.

Children’s Play Make-Up
Make-up can be fun for children to play with, but it can also be a cause for concern. Last year, asbestos was found in some make-up kits.  Most make-up products are not tested or required to pass any safety standards to ensure they are free of dangerous chemicals. Therefore, it is best to err on the side of caution and check the ingredients yourself if you are purchasing play make-up. We recommend avoiding these products altogether, but if you are purchasing a make-up play set, make sure the products are contaminant and talc-free (talc can be a source of asbestos).
Exposure to asbestos can cause several health cancers including mesothelioma. If you or a loved one believes they have come in contact with asbestos, please call the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.

Jewelry with Toxic Metals
Children’s jewelry is usually made from a variety of metallic and plastic materials.  Some manufacturers have been known to use heavy metals to include cadmium. Cadmium is a known carcinogen and can hinder brain development in children. Therefore, it is not a good idea to purchase cheap jewelry for young children who might potentially put these items in their mouths.

Button Batteries
Button batteries are smaller than a penny. These lithium batteries can be found in many children’s toys as well as remote controls and watches. The reason these can be dangerous is if you were to swallow one, it could cause life-threatening damage. The battery can cause burn damages to the esophagus, difficulty swallowing and breathing, and sometimes death. If you might suspect your child swallowed a button battery, please call the poison hotline as soon as possible.

Older Toys (and some new toys) that can Contain Lead
Beware when re-gifting older toys as they can contain lead. There are also some newer toys (musical instruments available on-line), that through an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, were found to contain illegal levels of lead.
Why is lead dangerous? When a child puts objects containing lead in their mouths, the child can get lead poisoning. Lead is toxic to humans and animals. It can cause serious health issues and even low levels of lead in the blood can cause:
  • Behavior and learning problems
  • Hyperactivity
  • Slowed growth
  • Hearing Issues
  • Anemia

In rare cases, it can also cause seizures, coma, and even death. If you are concerned you or a loved one might have encountered lead, please do not hesitate to reach out to the poison center.
The Texas Poison Center Network wants everyone to have a safe holiday and for presents to be poison-free! If you have any issues or concerns about any toys, including the ones we shared with you today, don’t hesitate to call.  Our phone lines are answered by pharmacists, nurses and toxicologists ready to help you with your poison concerns. Program the number in your phone so you always have it handy: 1-800-222-1222.