Study Says Parents Are Willing To Pay Less For Holiday Toy "Knock-Offs" — Here’s Why That Could be a Dangerous Choice

Stay clear of knock-offs when it comes to your kid’s toys!

By: Amanda Mushro
Cute little boy, playing with toys at Christmas at home, early morning, child still in pajama after unwrapping presents.

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Cute little boy, playing with toys at Christmas at home, early morning, child still in pajama after unwrapping presents.

Photo by: Tatyana Tomsickova Photography

Tatyana Tomsickova Photography

With Christmas right around the corner, many parents are finding the hot holiday toys missing from store shelves. In a scramble, some are turning to resale websites to try and secure those hot items. While many of those sought-after toys are being sold for double or triple the original price, there is a way to save some money — buy a knock-off version. A new study found that many parents are willing to save a few bucks on a knock-off toy, but buyers beware — you could be putting your kids in danger with counterfeit toys.

According to a study conducted by The Toy Association, 63% of parents surveyed admit they’d buy a counterfeit version of a toy if it was cheaper than the original. Also, more than half of parents admit to knowingly purchasing knock-off versions of toys to save a few bucks and ensure they get their kids the toy they wanted. However, one in ten parents say they had no idea these toys could be dangerous.

As parents, we just want to make the holidays amazing for our kids, and that means going to great lengths to find the toys on their wish lists. However, saving a few bucks and putting your kids at risk is a bargain parents shouldn’t make.

"Illicit sellers of counterfeit toys dupe parents into thinking they are buying the real thing, or entice them with lower prices or the promise of getting the ‘hot toy’ of the holiday season," says Joan Lawrence, Senior Vice President of Standards and Regulatory Affairs at The Toy Association. "What’s scary is that these illegitimate sellers are actually peddling fake and unsafe products which often do not comply with product safety laws. That is why we always urge parents to shop from reputable brands and sellers whose toys have been tested for compliance with over 100 different safety standards and tests required by law."

According to experts like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the problem with these copycat toys is that they are often made poorly. Many contain small or sharp parts that can easily become choking hazards or cause injury, paints that have dangerously high levels of lead, and other materials containing high levels of toxic chemicals. The risks outweigh the discounts. The CPSC says if the price of a toy seems too good to be true, it probably is.

So, not only could the knock-off toy be a waste of your money, it can also hurt your kids. In the rush to the shopping finish line, what should you look for when you find a great price on the hottest toys?

  • Check the packaging. If it looks different from what is found on sites like Amazon or in stores like Target, it’s a fake.
  • Check for misspellings or grammatical mistakes on the packaging or in the product description. Even if the packaging looks legit, the errors will be a giveaway.
  • If the manufacturer's information is not clearly printed on the box (website or address) or there is no manufacturer listed, it’s not a legit toy.
  • Finally, if the item is sold out everywhere or low in stock at stores and the price listed is suspiciously low, you aren’t getting a real version of the toy.

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