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1 in 3 Parents Don’t Know that Counterfeit Toys are Lurking Online

Trade group The Toy Association wants you to avoid buying counterfeit toys this holiday season….

  • December 1, 2019

Trade group The Toy Association wants you to avoid buying counterfeit toys this holiday season. The problem is, counterfeits are being sold on leading online marketplaces.

Nearly 1 in 3 toy-purchasing parents (31 percent) falsely believe counterfeit toys are not sold on major online marketplaces, representing a blind spot through which fraudulent toys that might be unsafe can slip into households this holiday season, according to a survey of 1,000 U.S. parents who are their household’s primary toy purchaser conducted by Wakefield Research for The Toy Association.

With survey results indicating that 70 percent of American parents are planning to do half or more of their holiday toy shopping online this year, it’s critical for families to understand the dangers of counterfeit and imitation toys – and how to avoid inadvertently purchasing them.

The Hidden Dangers of Counterfeit Toys

More than a third (34 percent) of toy-buying parents don’t know that counterfeit toys are not always tested for safety and might be unsafe to bring into the home.

On the other hand, legitimate toys sold by verified sellers and known brands are tested for compliance with the U.S.’s 100+ strict standards and tests.

Use common sense when shopping online. Pay attention to the seller’s presentation: Multiple grammatical errors in a product description or poorly photoshopped pictures are red flags.

A great alternative to online shopping in dodgy places is to visit the toy brand’s website and either purchase directly from the site or follow links to an official retailer to purchase.

Worth the Risk?

Many parents admit that they might gamble on unverified sellers—and for reasons that cast safety aside.

The top reasons parents would consider buying toys from unverified sellers include: the toys being out of stock everywhere else (32 percent) or if the toy was exactly what their children wanted (31 percent). Over a quarter (27 percent) of parents would be enticed if the “unverified” toy was simply cheaper.

Age Grading: It’s More than Just a Number

An alarming 96% of parents surveyed are confident that their children can responsibly play with a toy even if they are younger than the toy’s age recommendation.

This is troubling because grading is not based on a child’s intelligence, but rather his or her developmental skills at a given age. Toys labeled 3+ might contain small parts that are a choking hazard for children under age three or those who still mouth toys.

The Toy Association encourages parents to be vigilant about the toys they bring into their home by only choosing playthings from reputable, known, and verified brands and sellers. More information about toy safety and safe play can be found at

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