Advocacy group releases annual 'dangerous toys' list ahead of holiday season

It lights up, scurries around and is loud enough to damage kids hearing.

A toy jet and other toys just like it have found themselves on Washington Public Interest Research Group's list of "Dangerous Toys 2018."

It's the 33rd annual "Trouble in Toyland" report.

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The bipartisan consumer advocacy group says over that length of time, its reports have led to 150 toy recalls.

This year, they're focusing on social media toys, including the “Wonder Workshop Dash” programmable toy that they say has the potential to listen in on private conversations.

"Unfortunately, along the way, many of these toys collect information on children, share consumer information and potentially violate a child's privacy," said Hannah Thoreson with WashPIRG.

The company behind Dash say it does not store sounds on a server.

WashPIRG warns that another attractive toy for kids, a fun slime, may contain boron, which could be harmful to a child's health.

Doctors at Harborview in Seattle, Washington, say they see kids every year at the emergency room, and the risk isn't just from toys.

"Among the most severe and deadliest risk for young children... are distracted or impaired driving," said pediatrician Dr. Beth Ebel.

That also comes with a seasonal risk.

"Now it's getting dark around 4:30 p.m., visibility really matters, so get a reflective strap for your kid's backpack, get a dog leash that's reflective," she said.

The goal of this year's dangerous toys list is simple -- to make parents and family think ahead in terms of kid's safety during a busy holiday season and avoid a trip to the emergency room.

Statement from Wonder Workshop:

All of Wonder Workshop's robots and associated apps have always been compliant with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). We never collect, track, or share personally identifiable data about the children using our robots and apps. 
Due to technical limitations, it is not even possible for the robots to violate privacy laws. The robots cannot listen in or to the user. It is not technically possible. The robot's microphones are only capable of determining that they hear a voice-like sound; that is how the robot recognizes which direction to turn towards.
There's no facility for recording audio via the robot. Although a 5-sec audio clip can be recorded with the app and then transferred to the robot, the 5-sec audio clip is not stored anywhere and is immediately deleted after it's played, with no mechanism for retrieving that audio digitally either via Bluetooth or any other mechanism.

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