Illinois nonprofit highlights toy safety concerns in annual 'Trouble in Toyland' report

The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has released its latest "Trouble in Toyland" report, urging caution regarding hazardous toys ahead of the holiday season.

At Lurie Children's Hospital on Monday, medical and state officials presented a list of the riskiest items on the market that consumers should avoid.

One of the primary concerns highlighted in the report is "smart devices" in toys that feature a microphone, camera, location tracker, or internet access. Officials emphasized the potential safety risks associated with these devices, as they can collect data on children, posing privacy and security concerns.

Abe Scarr, Director of the Illinois PIRG Education Fund, explained, "Anytime you stick a computer inside a toy, it can collect data about who's using it. Anytime a company is storing information about your child longer than it should, it increases the chance that that data will get out, whether it's through a breach or through a hack, or it can end up in the wrong hands."

The report also emphasized the dangers of having water beads and button batteries in homes, as both can be deadly if ingested.