BOSTON — Cute plastic animals with tiny accessories that pose a choking hazard, Black Panther-inspired claws with the potential to cause facial or eye injuries, and green slime that could be harmful if swallowed: These are just some of the items on an annual list of potentially dangerous toys released Monday by a consumer advocacy group.
“Although intended for fun and entertainment, many toys contain hidden hazards unnecessarily putting children at risk of injury or death," Boston-based World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc. said in a statement announcing its “10 Worst Toys" of the year.
With parents looking for ways to keep children occupied during the coronavirus pandemic, and with the 2020 Christmas shopping season approaching, toy safety awareness is critical, the group said.
“Shockingly, classic toy dangers, such as small parts, strings, projectiles, toxic substances, rigid materials, and inaccurate warnings and labels, continue to reappear in new generations of toys putting children at risk," the organization said.
There are an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries to children each year and a child is brought to the emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury, according to WATCH.
The Toy Association, which represents toy manufacturers, called the WATCH list needlessly alarmist.
“By law, all toys sold in the United States must meet 100+ rigorous safety tests and standards," the association said in a statement. “However, WATCH does not test the toys in its report to check their safety; their allegations appear to be based on their misrepresentation of the mandatory toy standards — and of the priority the toy industry puts on safe and fun play."
The Toy Association said parents and others should always choose age-appropriate toys, encourage safe play, and make sure they purchase toys from reputable manufacturers and sellers.