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Recalled toys being sold online this holiday season, parents warned

A consumer group has a warning for parents when buying toys for kids this holiday season: watch out for recalled toys being listed for sale.

Retailers are supposed to pull toys off their shelves and websites when they’re recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and they usually do.

But the US Public Interest Research Group’s (PIRG) Trouble in Toyland report says they found recalled, dangerous toys still being sold, most often, on reselling platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and other online retailers.

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200,000 people land in the emergency room every year, injured by toys with 40% of them children under the age of 4, according to data from the CPSC.

But US PIRG says they were able to buy more than 30 recalled toys in October from platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and some online merchants.

“We purchased all these toys well after they’ve been recalled. We were still able to find them on major online resellers like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, as well as several toy retailers,” said Abe Scarr with Illinois PIRG.

These toys include stuffed animals, action figures, activity balls for infants, musical toys, bath toys, and a toddler’s riding toy. Most of them are new in the box or with a tag still attached. They were recalled for problems such as having small parts that children have choked on, parts that have broken and cut children or containing toxins like lead or phthalates.

“And when they’re sold on the internet, without sufficient warning, without the Consumer Product Safety Commission, giving consumers the information they need, and without Facebook marketplace or eBay doing the due diligence that they should do as a matter of moral responsibility, ” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D – Connecticut).

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A good rule of thumb is that any toy small enough to fit through a toilet paper tube is small enough for a child to choke on.

We asked Facebook Marketplace what it’s doing to prevent the sale of recalled toys. A spokesperson tells us Meta’s policy prohibits listings for recalled products and that it has an automated system that removes them, writing:

“We are heavily invested in our approach to safety and have over 40,000 people across Meta working on safety and security, which includes teams proactively enforcing our commerce policies that prohibit the sale of recalled goods. Like other platforms where people can buy and sell goods, there are instances of people knowingly or unknowingly selling recalled goods on Marketplace. We take this issue seriously and when we find listings that violate our rules, we remove them.”

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Before you buy a toy, you can check if it’s been recalled at CPSC.gov/Recalls.

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