Consumer safety group releases list of the year’s most dangerous toys
With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, many parents have probably browsed through the list of the year’s most popular toys.
But here’s another list parents might want to read through: The 2019 Worst Toys List, compiled by the consumer safety group World Against Toys Causing Harm, or WATCH.
The list, the group claims, features toys that have hidden hazards that could potentially put children at unnecessary risk. Their experts claim the toys have pieces that easily fall off, causing choking risks. Other products have inadequate warning labels that kids either can’t see or are unlikely to follow.
Here’s the WATCH list for 2019:
- Nerf “Ultra One” Dart Blaster
– Potential hazard: WATCH says the manufacturer of this dart blaster boasts that the ammunition “FIRES UP TO 120 FT” with “POWERFUL SPEED” making this the “FARTHEST FLYING NERF DART. EVER.” The darts provided can shoot with enough force to potentially cause eye injuries.
- Spike, the Fine Motor Hedgehog
– Potential hazard: This “hedgehog”, sold for oral-age children as young as 18 months old, comes with twelve removable, rigid-plastic “quills” measuring approximately 3 ½ inches long. The quills can potentially be mouthed and occlude a child’s airway.
- Bunchems Bunch ‘n Build
– Potential hazard: “Bunchems” are multi-colored activity balls that are meant to stick together when children engage in building activities. There have been report of the plastic, connective toys becoming ensnared in children’s hair. The manufacturer itself provides numerous warnings related to this hazard, including a large, bright orange box insert stating in part: “CAUTION: KEEP AWAY FROM HAIR. During play, tie hair back to avoid entanglement. Keep away from pets.…”
– Potential hazard: This soft, ape-like “Yeti” creature is sold for oral-age children. The “cuddle” toy has long, fiber-like hair that may not be adequately rooted, such that pulling with minimum effort could lead to removal. Once separated from the toy, the hair presents the potential for ingestion or aspiration injuries. This hazard is not referenced anywhere on the product or product tags.
- Nickelodeon Frozen Treats Slime
– Potential hazard: Nickelodeon’s colorful “slime” is offered to children with the appearance of some of their favorite frozen treats, including “mint chocolate chip”, “berry smoothie”, and “soft serve.” At the same time, the manufacturer issues a warning regarding “harmful chemicals” while advising: “NOT REAL FOOD—DO NOT EAT.”
- Anstoy Electronic Toy Gun
– Potential Hazard: Given the numerous reported tragedies resulting from outfitting children with realistic toy weapons, there is simply no excuse for marketing “toys” such as this “submachine gun.” Existing regulations addressing the hazards are inadequate. Detailed replicas mistaken for lethal weaponry have resulted in numerous deaths over the years, and should never be sold as toys.
- Diecast School Bus
– Potential hazard: These miniature yellow school buses are sold with a “choking hazard” warning on a removable, stick-on label. The firm rubber tires, mounted on plastic wheels, can be removed, presenting the potential for a serious choking injury for oral age children
- Pogo Trick Board
– Potential hazard: Children using this “Pogo Trick Board” with “high bounce ball” are provided “[d]ual handles for tricking out.” Despite the manufacturer’s warning to wear a helmet and other “protective gear”, only two of the three children shown on the packaging are wearing helmets, and none are using other protective items.
- Power Rangers Electronic Cheetah Claw
– Potential hazard: The Power Rangers “BEAST Morphers” claws are made of rigid plastic. Five-year-olds are encouraged to use the “strength of the CHEETAH CLAW” to “take on…enemies!” The manufacturer simultaneously advises children not to “hit or swing at people.…”
- Viga Pull-Along Caterpillar
– Potential hazard: Despite the industry’s standard requiring strings on playpen and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length, manufacturers are still permitted to market “pull toys” such as the “Pull Along Caterpillar” with a cord measuring approximately 24 inches. No warnings are provided.