RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As we head into the holiday season, parents are on the lookout for the hottest or most popular toys for their kids. However, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) is warning parents there may be some bad toys out there. 

NC PIRG says its parent organization discovered there’s a large amount of counterfeit and recalled toys online.

Since so much of our shopping tends to be online, that poses special challenges for parents. 

NCPIRG state director Katie Craig says, “it’s a big issue.” 

Every year about this time, there is an uptick in pediatric emergency-room visits by parents whose child is experiencing toy-related injuries.  

Small toys lodged in the esophagus, as well as, button batteries from toys that are swallowed by youngsters are among the issues that occur every year about this time. 

“A lot of times kids have older siblings that have toys marketed for older kids,” said Dr. Amy Griffin, who is a pediatric emergency room doctor at WakeMed. “Pieces of those toys break off and little kids can choke on them.” 

Among the toys displayed by NC PIRG was a plush stuffed duck about 5 inches tall. 

“They were recalled because they contain excessive levels of toxic chemicals,” said Craig. 

That toy was among 10 that were supposed to be recalled, according to the 2022 Trouble in Toyland report. However, they were still found readily available online by PIRG researchers. 

In addition to recalled toys, the report says there’s a big influx of counterfeit toys hitting the online marketplaces. 

That’s posing new challenges for consumers looking to buy toys for their children,” said Craig. 

That in turn makes some parents the “toy” police as they carefully watch what comes into their home.  

“We limit the amount we bring into the house,” said Allie Wormel who is the mother of a 3-year-old boy and a 2-year-old boy. 

You can find lists of recalled items on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website. This website also allows you to report an unsafe item.