Toy Association Joins U.S. PIRG to Discuss Dangers of Counterfeits & Safety of Legit Toys

November 16, 2021 | For the first time since U.S. PIRG began publishing its annual “toy safety” reports 36 years ago, The Toy Association joined the NGO for a virtual press conference last week (November 11) held in conjunction with the release of the group’s 2021 “Trouble in Toyland” report. Speaking alongside PIRG staff and medical and safety professionals, The Toy Association’s Jennifer Gibbons, vice president of federal government affairs, discussed the dangers of counterfeit toys sold online and shared tips on how to avoid knockoff products.

“We welcomed this opportunity to amplify our year-round, proactive messaging on toy and play safety,” said Adrienne Appell, senior vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association. “While we are not in agreement about everything in PIRG’s report, we appreciate any platform that allows us to educate shoppers about safety, counterfeits, and the importance of buying only from reputable brands and retailers whose toys comply with over 100 different safety standards and tests required by laws.”

Gibbons, who joined the press conference via Zoom, reinforced the toy community’s deep commitment to toy safety; provided facts about the billions of compliant toys sold in the country each year; and spread awareness about counterfeit/knockoff toys and games.

In addition to speaking at the event, The Toy Association monitored and responded to media coverage of the 2021 Trouble in Toyland Report. Media interest in the misleading claims made in PIRG’s report has steadily diminished in recent years; The Toy Association believes this decline is in part a result of the Association’s ongoing proactive efforts to provide journalists with accurate information about the safety of toys sold in this country.

The Toy Association provided media outlets with a statement regarding PIRG’s inaccurate claims and/or misleading information in the report; this statement was included in 20 broadcast segments and 52 print placements. In addition, The Toy Association’s Joan Lawrence was interviewed on CBS 17 (Raleigh, NC) and Jennifer Gibbons was interviewed on News 12 The Bronx & Brooklyn. Another segment with Joan Lawrence on counterfeits and toy safety is slated to take place on Black Friday.

The Toy Association pointed out certain issues in the report, such as the inclusion of many items that have been voluntarily recalled or discontinued by companies and are no longer available for purchase from legitimate sellers; the inclusion of several items that are not toys (adult magnets, gaming consoles, batteries found in household products, etc.); and misleading claims about the safety of Internet-connect toys (naming product issues dating back several years and including discontinued and non-toy products as examples). Reporters were also directed to for accurate information on toy and play safety.

The Toy Association is currently monitoring for the release of a second NGO report that is typically released before Thanksgiving and will be responding to any claims made within the report and fielding media questions on behalf of members. For more information or assistance, members may contact Kristin Morency Goldman, senior advisor of strategic communications at The Toy Association.