Recalled Toys Still Available Online? ‘Trouble In Toyland’ Report Warns Online Shoppers About Banned Playthings Being Sold Through eCommerce Platforms

Product recalls don’t always work well in the world of toys, cautions a new report. Although quite a few of these innocent looking playthings might be on the recalled list of toys, they are still easily available to online shoppers. According to the report, more than a dozen toys recalled by U.S. authorities for safety reasons, could still be listed for purchase on many websites, giving a completely false and untrue impression about their legality.

Holiday shoppers are being cautioned about potentially dangerous toys being openly sold online. Although the toys have been deemed hazardous to children, they are still easily available through multiple eCommerce platforms that conduct a very brisk business during this time of the year, when eager shoppers are looking for something that isn’t available in the physical store, but is highly in demand. While brick-and-mortar stores might have pulled these toys off the shelves for a very valid reason, online shopping platforms often sell off their inventory even if the items have been deemed hazardous and unsafe for children to play with.


According to a recent research report titled “Trouble in Toyland” from non-profit U.S. Public Interest Research Groups Education Fund, about 44 different toys that had a combined total of 35 million units, were recalled from January 2015 to October 2016 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Shockingly, 16 of those toys, which could easily be from any of the recalled batches, were still available for purchase online, reported Wisconsin Public Radio.


Needless to say, sale of banned or recalled merchandise is illegal and the act is considered a criminal offense. However, despite posing burning, choking, lead-poisoning hazards, and being prominently mentioned by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, these toys are openly available to unsuspecting buyers through a number of online portals, instead of being recalled.


Some of the most notable toys are the hoverboards. These battery-operated devices were all the rage this year. However, the U.S. market quickly flooded with hoverboards with questionable quality and spurious components. After there were several cases of fires, many of the brands were deemed hazardous. Similarly, toys that had excessive noise, were stuffed faulty batteries or components, were also banned.

Other toys that are on the recalled toys list including children’s jewelry since they pose a choking hazard. Several toys are suspected to be painted with paint that might contain lead, a known and banned carcinogen. Phthalates, a combination of chemicals used to make plastic more durable and flexible, has also been added in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that was amended in 2008.


Other reasons for recall include usage of tiny magnets or chords that are too thin, and known to overheat. Interestingly a few of the toys were added to the list because of the realism. These toys resemble food items, fooling kids into thinking that they can and should be eaten.

While consumer durables market may be equally large, it is very organized and streamlined. Toy purchases, on the other hand, often do not create or leave a data trail that leads to the individual consumer. Additionally, the purchases are often made for other homes. Hence, the toys market is highly fragmented and scattered, noted James Swartz, director of World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH),

“As important as recalls are, there is no way to get them all back and to notify everyone.”


The report alerting parents about the dangers of buying recalled toys online was released Tuesday morning at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison. The report is meant to caution parents and shoppers that there might be toys in their homes already that have been recalled.

While product safety norms have improved significantly, there is noticeable lack of vigilance on the part of consumers and parents, cautions the report. Buyers should exercise caution when buying toys at flea markets, garage sales and thrift stores, reported WPTV. In fact, toys should preferably be bought only from reputable stores and online retailers, insist experts.

[Featured Image by Hoang Dinh Nam/Getty Images]