(Diane Atwood) -- Before you head out to the mall or to your computer to do your holiday shopping, check out this important list.
Every year since the early 70s, the consumer watchdog group World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) comes out with a list of dangerous toys.
You may expect the toys you buy are going to be safe, but the group pointed out that since “January 2015, there have been at least nineteen (19) toys with recognized safety defects recalled in the United States.”
Because of poor design and manufacturing and marketing practices, there are toys on the shelves that can seriously injure or even kill a child. According to the group, every three minutes a child is treated in an emergency room in the United States because of a toy-related injury.
W.A.T.C.H.’s annual “10 Worst Toys” list is designed to draw attention to some of the hazards in toys. The point is to raise awareness on potential safety issues so that we’ll all be more cautious when we’re buying gifts for children.
1. Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR CHOKING INJURIES This set of four “Peppa Pig” figurines includes an entire “muddy puddles family”. Incredibly, despite the “choking hazard” warning and “3+” age recommendation on the packaging of some toys, other packages of what appear to be the same toys are sold for oral-age children as young as “2+” with no warnings about toy-related hazards.
2. Kids Time Baby Children’s Elephant Pillow
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR SUFFOCATION This large, plush pillow in the form of a cuddly stuffed elephant is marketed with an image on the retailer’s website depicting an infant snuggling alone with the plush animal. There are no warnings or age recommendations on the product itself. The hazards associated with pillows sold for infants are well documented. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has warned that a pillow can block a baby’s mouth and can cause a baby to suffocate. “Infant pillow[s]” and “any other similar article[s]” which are “intended or promoted for use by children under one year of age” have been banned by the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (16 CFR 1500.18).
3. Slimeball Slinger
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE INJURIES The “slimeball launcher” is similar to a slingshot, and is sold with bright green “slimeballs” as ammunition, which can be fired “over 30 feet!” Projectiles launched with such force have the potential to cause serious eye injuries.
4. Banzai Bump N’ Bounce Body Bumpers
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR IMPACT INJURIES This product does not provide protection. Impact hazard may present; protective equipment (for head, elbows, knees, hands, etc) should be worn (not included),” and other warnings/cautious on package insert, packaging and product HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR IMPACT INJURIES! W.A.T.C.H. OUT! Children as young as 4-years-old are encouraged to “[s]lip into your bumper suit for a “bumpin’ bump ‘em’ fun time!” Children on the packaging are shown running into each other without any “protection” (not included), as recommended by the manufacturer.
5. Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 Blaster
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE INJURIES The manufacturer of this “blaster” with an “easy-load magazine” encourages “precision battling” during “intense head-to-head competition.” The ammunition provided can shoot with enough force to potentially cause eye injuries. Images on the box depict children wearing masks covering their face and eyes, however the face mask is “not included” and must be purchased separately.
6. The Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR PUNCTURE WOUND INJURIES This “rugged Tyrannosaurus Rex” is a popular children’s movie character marketed as a “Rustler’s worst nightmare.” Operation of the dinosaur by children as young as 3-years-old in order to evoke “galloping action and sounds” requires the push of a button on the toy’s rigid, pointed tail, which may be held close to a child’s torso or face. There exists a potential for significant puncture wound injuries during encouraged playtime activity.
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR STRANGULATION INJURIES Despite the industry’s standard requiring strings on playpen and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length, manufacturers are permitted to market pull toys like the “Peppy Pup,” with a cord measuring approximately 31 inches.
8. Flying Heroes Superman Launcher
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE AND FACIAL INJURIES This flying, winged superhero figurine is sold with a launcher for children as young as 4 years old, who are encouraged to “[g]rip it!” and “[r]ip it!” The instructions caution that the Superman character should only be launched “at arm’s length and pointing up and away from your face….”
9. Baby Magic Feed and Play Baby
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR INGESTION INJURIES The “Baby Magic” doll, which plays “peek a boo,” comes with a baby bottle, high chair, blanket, food dish, and “interactive spoon.” The slender, rigid plastic spoon is approximately 2 ¾” long, with the potential to be mouthed and occlude a child’s airway.
10. Warcraft Doomhammer
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR BLUNT IMPACT INJURIES 6-year-old children are encouraged to “[f]eel the power of the horde!” with the “legendary Doomhammer,” based on weaponry in the “Warcraft” movie. The manufacturer offers no warnings regarding potential impact injuries associated with foreseeable use of the heavy, rigid plastic battle hammer.
Remember, these are not the only potentially hazardous toys on the market. For safety tips and more information about how the list is created, visit W.A.T.C.H.