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Toy shoppers cautioned to beware of choking hazards

Attorney General LisMadigan talks about dangerous toys Ann   Robert Lurie Children's Hospital Chicago Tuesday November 20 2012.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan talks about dangerous toys at Ann & Robert Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Tuesday, November 20, 2012. I John H. White~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 20, 2012 2:26PM

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, the 27th annual “Trouble in Toyland” survey of toy safety is out.

“The message is really clear: We need to protect our littlest consumers from unsafe toys,” said Brian Imus, director of Illinois Public Interest Research Group, which puts together the survey. “Toys are safer than ever before, but parents and caregivers still need to watch out for common hazards when they shop this holiday season.”

In particular, watch out for small magnets, which, if swallowed can cause severe intestinal damage, Imus said.

Between 2009-11, ER doctors nationwide saw approximately 1,700 patients who had swallowed high-powered magnets, Imus said.

Toys with small parts continue to pose a choking hazard, and Imus recommends using a toilet paper roll to help in determining if a toy is too small for your child. Any toy that fits inside a toilet paper roll is too small for a child 3 years or less, Imus said.

To see the complete survey, go to

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