An inflatable inner tube with poles covered in lead-based paint. A toddler walker with tiny wheels and wheel attachment hardware that can detach. A “stacking” activity set with information stickers that can separate from the bottom.
These were some of the most searched-for recalled toys in 2022, as more toy recalls were issued last year than in the previous four years combined. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued 30 toy recalls in 2022 — up from nine in 2021, two in 2020, three in 2019 and six in 2018.
The commission also worked with border agents to seize millions of illegal imported toys.
Choking hazards prompted the last two recalls on Dec. 1, when Target flagged 23,400 units of the Cloud Island 4-Piece Plush Toy Sets and HABA USA recalled about 800 Discovery Cubes Animal Hide and Seek activity toys. Target said consumers should immediately take the stuffed toys away from their children and return them for a refund.
Asphyxiation among infants and toddlers causes most deaths involving recalled toys.
According to the safety commission’s most recent data, emergency rooms treated more than 152,000 toy-related injuries to children younger than 15 in 2021. They included two deaths: a 17-month-old boy who choked on an egg-shaped plastic toy and an 8-month-old girl who suffocated while sleeping face-down on a soft toy.
In an email to The Washington Times, commission press secretary Patty Davis pointed to a surge of toys brought into the U.S. without proper safety testing.
Ms. Davis referred to a November report saying the commission helped Customs and Border Protection confiscate about 2 million “dangerous or illegal toys and children’s products” entering U.S. ports last year. That included nearly 300,000 seizures for lead-related issues.
“We are committed to doing our part to ensure, through vigorous inspections and enforcement, that hazardous products don’t make it to store shelves or consumers’ homes,” commission Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric said in November.
The most-sought recalled toy in 2022 was the Jungle Jumparoo. Children could jump up and down on an inflatable inner tube while grasping vertical poles in the center. The toy maker recalled about 350 of them in June after learning that a small batch had yellow poles with potentially toxic amounts of lead.
More than 18,300 people searched online for the Jungle Jumparoo recall last year, Australian gift company Yellow Octopus found in an analysis of Google Trends data. More people searched for details about the Jungle Jumparoo recall than the rest of the top five toy recall searches combined, according to Yellow Octopus.
“The toys’ yellow poles contain levels of lead that exceed the federal lead content ban. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health issues,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission says in the recall notice posted online.
All affected consumers received a letter to request two replacement poles, a Jungle Jumparoo customer service representative said, adding that the company typically receives one to three returns a year.
“We have also implemented procedures in our manufacturing process to avoid any potential issues in the future,” the spokesperson said in an email. “We have had virtually no returns of our product post-Christmas.”
The second most searched recall, at 5,770, was for Walk ’n’ Learn Wooden Activity Toddler Walkers. The company recalled about 17,200 of the walkers in March after problems with the wheel and wheel attachments created a choking hazard.
In November, Professor Puzzle recalled 2,350 units of its Children’s Rainbow Stacking Toy because of reports that the sticker detached and created a choking hazard. That sparked 2,030 Google searches for information, Yellow Octopus reported.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission urges consumers who suspect they bought a recalled toy to search the agency’s website for replacement, refund and repair options.
Federal safety standards mandate the testing of toys sold in the U.S. for eight potentially toxic elements, including lead.
Toy companies enforce the standards and initiate most government recalls before any injuries occur, said Alan P. Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs for the Toy Association.
Problems sometimes arise from batches of toys manufactured overseas without appropriate testing, said Mr. Kaufman, who specializes in toy safety standards for the industry.
“We have not noticed an increase in safety issues with toys from legitimate sellers,” Mr. Kaufman said in an email. “But consumers need to be cautious about purchasing counterfeit toys or toys from illegitimate sellers, which are often not designed, manufactured, and tested to the high standards that the industry adheres to.”