Black Friday ads are popping up everywhere now, as the 2017 Holiday Season is upon us. There are already predictions for the “hottest holiday toys” this year – toys like Moose Toys’ playsets (Despicable Me; Oonies) on the Good Housekeeping list; and Walmart predicts Fingerlings will be big this year. See, “Good Housekeeping’s Picks for the Hottest Holiday Toys,” written by Catherin Thorbecke and published by ABCNews.com on October 16, 2017.
Forecasting the most popular toys is one thing; warning about dangerous toys that are being sold to unsuspecting parents, grandparents is another.
Sadly, every year there are defective products and dangerous toys that stores and sites are all too happy to offer for sale even though they can hurt and injure a child.
In the most serious cases, children can die from playing with these dangerous products – but they’re still out there, on the shelves (or on the web pages). Dangerous toys are for sale – right now. Today.
Target Selling Fidget Spinners with Toxic Lead in Them
For instance, a few weeks ago a warning was issued by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group that some fidget spinners may contain lead in them. Not all fidget spinners, but some. And the ones they tested that did have lead in them were being sold at Target stores all over the country. Yes, that includes Indiana and Illinois.
Their tests showed that these fidget spinner brands not only have unacceptable levels of lead in them, but one brand had 300% over the legal limit.
The two brands in question? Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass and the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal. See, “Safety group finds lead in some fidget spinners,” written by Rick Massimo and published by WTOP.com on November 9, 2017.
After the child advocacy’s warning made the national news, Target finally pulled the products from its stores and its website. However, it took a while.
At first, both Target and the toy maker of the lead-laden fidget spinners responded that they would remain for sale because under the Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines, they were not breaking any law. Why not? The fidget spinners were being marketed for sale to kids over 14 years of age and therefore outside of the CPSC guidelines. For details, read “Target selling fidget spinners with high levels of lead,” written by Kathy Kristof and published by CBS News on November 9, 2017.
Nevermind there might be other kids – younger kids – that might play with those toys, right?
The first reaction of the store (distributor) and the toy maker (manufacturer) in this fidget spinner case is far from unique. All too often, these stores and the toy makers are focused upon profits and their bottom line – especially during the Holiday Season.
Putting profits over people in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of dangerous products happens all the time in this country.
We Have to Know About Toy Safety – We Cannot Depend Upon the Stores to Keep Kids Safe
What is the lesson here? Everyone buying toys during the holiday season needs to know about toy safety.
We need to know about the reality of dangerous toys and defective products being sold to children. And we need to understand that some kids will be hurt by dangerous toys and what to do when that happens.
2017 Holiday Season: List of The 10 Most Dangerous Toys Being Sold
This week, the non-profit advocacy group “WATCH” (World Against Toys Causing Harm) released its list of the most dangerous toys that are for sale during this Holiday Season. WATCH has been researching and publishing its annual “10 Worst Toys” list every year since 1973.
Here are the 10 toys that made the 2017 “Ten Worst Toys” List, with a warning from WATCH to beware of the danger of purchasing potentially harmful toys:
1. “Itty Bittys” Baby Stacking Toy
The danger of these cute little toys is that children can choke on them. They were recalled by the federal government back in August 2017.
This plush Disney-themed stacking toy with four rattling rings is sold without age recommendations or warnings. The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall notice on August 31, 2017 due to “fabric hats and bows that can detach, posing a choking hazard.” A Hallmark “Itty Bittys” Baby Stacking Toy was purchased online after the recall was announced.
2. Pull-Along Pony
This little pull-along toy is considered dangerous because small children can get tangled up in the string and get hurt and babies (and toddlers) are at risk of strangulation from the long string on this toy.
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 Pony” with a cord measuring approximately 19 inches. No warnings are provided.
3. Wonder Woman Battle Action Sword
The plastic in this toy sword is so tough that kids playing with it might hurt themselves or others in ‘blunt force injuries.” There are also concerns about battery safety and small parts causing injury.
“WARNING: small parts may be generated” and battery safety warnings; HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR BLUNT FORCE INJURIES! Young children are encouraged to bear arms, like a popular comic book and movie character, to engage in “[f]ighting alongside men in a war to end all wars. …” The rigid plastic sword blade has the potential to cause facial or other impact injuries
4. Hand Fidgetz Spinners
These spinners are labelled as “novelty gifts” and not to be used as a toy. But they are being sold in retail toy aisles anyway and are a danger to kids because children can choke on them.
This product is a novelty gift item. It is not intended to be used as a toy” (On removable sticker) HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR CHOKING INJURIES! Fidget Spinners, like these bright-colored versions, can be found in retail toy aisles. These spinners remain popular with children of all ages, and some present potential small parts hazards.
5. Spider-Man Spider Drone Official Movie Edition
This drone has blades that spin very fast and endanger children with the risk of being cut or having eye or body impact injuries.
Drone has rotating blades that move at high speed, posing danger of… injury; “Keep spinning rotors away from fingers, hair, eyes, and other body parts”; and other cautions/warnings on package/package insert. HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE AND BODY IMPACT INJURIES! This “official movie edition” remote-control drone, based on the well-known Spiderman Superhero franchise, is sold for use by children. The “performance drone”, designed to launch into the air powered by multiple rotating rotor blades is accompanied by numerous warnings, including the potential for “damage or injury” The drone is powered by high-speed rotating blades. The warning label advises users to “Keep spinning rotors away from fingers, hair, eyes, and other body parts,” but WATCH recommends keeping it out of your home altogether.
6. Zombie Strike Deadbolt Crossbow
This toy crossbow comes with its own arrows. It shoots the arrows with sufficient force to puts kids at risk of eye injuries as they play with it as well as risking harm to people or animals that might be hit with the arrows.
Warnings: “Do not aim or shoot at eyes or face of people or animals”, and other cautions/warnings on product, package, and package insert. HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE INJURIES! W.A.T.C.H. OUT! Children as young as 8-years-old are encouraged to load “arrows” into the “deadbolt” crossbow, pull back the “primary pressurized lever” and fire the projectiles in order to “strike back” at “zombies.” The force of the arrow launch presents the potential for eye and facial injuries. WATCH found that “The force of the arrow launch presents the potential for eye and facial injuries.” The packaging warns users not to aim or shoot at people’s eyes or faces, but accidents happen.
7. Slackers Slackline Classic Series Kit
The line is suggested to be placed between two trees, which is a danger for strangulation, serious injury, and death.
Warnings: “WARNING: strangulation hazard”; “CAUTION: Remember a Slackline can be a potentially dangerous piece of equipment and can cause serious injury or even death”, and other warnings/cautions. HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR STRANGULATION AND FALL-RELATED INJURIES! W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This Slackline is marketed for “all ages” pursuant to a package insert, providing a tightrope-like device intended to be anchored between two trees. The manufacturer warns of the potential for “severe injury”, including “a strangulation hazard, especially with children.”
8. Oval Xylophone
This musical toy is marketed to babies and infants but the handle is built so small that a baby could suffocate or choke on it.
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR INGESTION AND CHOKING INJURIES!W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This multi-colored musical instrument is sold for babies as young as 12 months old. The manufacturer provides no warnings regarding the slender, rigid approximately 9 ½” long drumstick handle, which has the potential to be mouthed and occlude a child’s airway.
9. Jetts Heel Wheels
This toy attaches to the child’s shoes, transforming the shoe into a kind of roller skate but the sparking action that comes with these skates can burn kids and falls while playing with the skates can cause serious injury or death.
Warnings: “USING HEEL WHEELS CAN BE A DANGEROUS ACTIVITY AND MAY RESULT IN INJURY OR DEATH. … USE AT YOUR OWN RISK….” and numerous other warnings on package/package insert. HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR BLUNT IMPACT AND FIRE-RELATED BURN INJURIES! W.A.T.C.H. OUT! “Heel Wheels” are marketed to be strapped to heels of children’s shoes so footwear can be transformed into a type of rear-wheel roller skate. The manufacturer adds “real sparking” action to the “Jetts” with “skid pads”, as evidenced by numerous warnings, including: “Keep sparks away from eyes, hair, exposed skin and clothing. Sparks can burn.”
10. Brianna Babydoll
The baby doll is packaged with ponytail holders that the child can remove to brush and play with the doll. These are a choking hazard.
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR CHOKING INJURIES! These “huggable, soft” dolls, marketed for babies as young as 18 months old, have “removable clothing.” The pink ponytail holders are also removable, presenting the potential for ingesting and choking.
Dangerous Toys and Child Injuries
As WATCH explains in its news release, the above list is far from complete. There are many more dangerous toys out there, available for sale today.
“The particular toys on the “10 Worst Toys” list are illustrative of some hazards in toys being sold to consumers, and should not be considered as the only potentially hazardous toys on the market.”
For more, read:
- The Dangers of Holiday Child Accidents: Toys and Games
- Toy Safety: Protecting Children From Being Hurt By Dangerous Toys That Are Sold Everyday
- Lead Exposure in Toys Can Harm or Kill Kids: CPSC Sets Tougher Lead Levels for U.S. Toys Effective August 2011
No one wants to think about how our kids might suffer serious injuries or die from toys and games, but these tragedies do happen. We must know as much as we can about toy safety in order to keep kids safe. Because all too often, the toy makers and the stores are not protecting them. Let’s be careful out there!