World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) has just unveiled its annual list of toys that appear to be poorly designed or lacking in safety standards. The nonprofit has been issuing the list of potentially dangerous holiday toys for more than 40 years.
WATCH points out that toys are recalled every year, often for hazards that are widely known in the industry. Between January 2018 and October 2019, 27 toys were recalled by the CPSC for dangers including strangulation hazards, laceration danger and lead poisoning risk. A total of 1.2 million units were recalled in the U.S. and Canada. Moreover, many people don’t notice toy recalls, and many recalled toys are sold second-hand.
Is one of your holiday toys on the list?
Eye hazards, choking and falls, oh my!
One toy that made the list was Flybar’s Pogo Trick Board. It carries a warning label telling kids to wear protection when using the toy. That’s positive, but the packaging shows a child using the toy without any protection, which could give the impression that no helmet or eye protection is needed.
The problem with the Nerf Ultra One gun, which fires soft darts up to 120 feet, is that those darts are fired with sufficient force to cause eye injuries. Moreover, at least one retailer was found selling this alongside “Nerf Battle Goggles,” which are a toy that does not provide eye protection.
Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog is marketed to children 18 months and older, but the plastic “quills” of the hedgehog are removable and could be ingested or cause choking.
Spin Master’s Bunchems Bunch’N Build contains multicolored activity balls that stick together for building purposes. The connective toys can get ensnared in children’s hair. The packaging has numerous warnings about this hazard, but children aged 4+ may not actually tie their hair back when playing with the toy.
The hair on the Douglas Company’s Yeti creature can be pulled out easily because it may not be adequately rooted. Once removed, the hair can be ingested or aspirated by small children, but the toy is marketed to children 24 months and older.
Your kids may think Nickelodeon’s “slime” is terrific, but it is not food and should never be eaten. Nevertheless, it is marketed in flavors like “mint chocolate chip” and “berry smoothie.” The package warns that children should never play with slime except under adult supervision.
Considering the numerous tragedies involving toy guns being mistaken for real ones, it’s surprising that Anstoy has produced a realistic-looking submachine gun toy for kids 14 and older. The Anstoy Electronic Toy Gun also warns that goggles should be worn and the gun should never be shot at people, animals or fragile targets.
Schylling’s Diecast School Buses have rubber tires that can be removed and swallowed, posing a choking hazard. Although the toy is only approved for kids over 3, the choking hazard warning is listed only on a removable sticker.
In its marketing for the Power Rangers Electronic Cheetah Claw, Hasbro encourages five-year-olds to use the “strength of the Cheetah Claw” to “take on … enemies!” At the same time, it warns the children not to swing at people or breakable objects. It also carries a small parts warning.
Finally, the Viga Pull Along Caterpillar for kids 18 months and up can cause strangulation. Industry standards generally require strings on playpen toys to be 12 inches or less, but there is a loophole for “pull toys” like this one with a cord of 24 inches. The long cord could be a strangulation hazard.