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Toy-related dangers highlighted in 2 new reports

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NEW YORK (NBC) — The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, released it's annual "Trouble in Toyland" report on Monday.

Most of their highlighted toys include choking hazards and levels of toxins that may be harmful to children, including lead.

Toy makers say the report is flawed, pointing out that one doll singled out for having small parts comes with the necessary warning label.

"Year after year, PIRG releases these reports, and they're misleading, they're inaccurate, and they unnecessarily alarm parents," said Rebecca Mond, of the Toy Industry Association.

Still, the PIRG report found websites selling toys that have been recalled, including small, powerful magnets that can be extremely harmful if swallowed.

A separate new study — published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics found the annual rate of toy-related injuries has risen 40 percent in the past two decades.

One of the biggest reasons? Kids falling off fast-moving scooters.

Year after year, PIRG releases these reports, and they're misleading, they're inaccurate, and they unnecessarily alarm parents.

–Rebecca Mond, Toy Industry Association

"That usually results in either cuts to the face or head, and sometimes fractures or broken bones," said Dr. Gary Smith, of Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Smith and colleagues at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, analyzed emergency room records and found a child is treated every 3 minutes for a toy-related injury.

Younger kids are prone to choking on small toys.

As kids get older and more active, the ride-on toys account for a significant number of injuries — especially scooters.

"When they were introduced in the year 2000, there was a rapid increase in the number of injuries. In fact, I will say that I've never seen anything like it in my career," Smith said.

In response to the study the Toy Industry Association writes: "Toy-related injuries are those associated with, but not necessarily caused by, a toy. This only means that a toy was being used when an injury occurred, and does not indicate that the toy itself caused any harm."

To reduce that risk for harm, helmets and other safety gear are paramount.

Experts also say kids should use their ride-on toys under the watchful eye of an adult and away from high-traffic areas.

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Erika Edwards, NBC News


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