The 11 deaths and more than 200,000 toy-related injuries in 2003 show that not all toys on the market are safe, nor are they all tested, said Lindsey Johnson, a consumer advocate for U.S. Public Interest Research Group's Education Fund.
Johnson wrote the group's report "Trouble in Toyland."
The advocacy group's report splits unsafe toys into four categories: choking hazards, strangulation hazards, dangerously loud toys and toxic toys.
Toys with small pieces or detachable parts can pose a serious risk of choking, especially for children under 6. Ten of the 11 children who died in toy accidents last year choked on a toy. Still, many toys for children as young as 3 include small parts and are sold without a choke warning.
Balloons, a major cause of choking incidents, are often sold out of boxes or bins without warning labels when they should be labeled as dangerous for children under age 8, according to the report. It also highlighted risks from small balls, marbles, dolls and other toys manufactured by many companies, including Fisher-Price, Disney and Mattel.
On noise, PIRG cited new standards requiring that toy sounds not exceed 90 decibels to protect children's hearing. However, many toys still being sold are louder than 100 decibels, according to PIRG, which said that hearing damage could result from prolonged exposure to noise at 85 decibels or higher.
To read the report, visit www.toysafety.net.