No matter how much your kids beg and plead, do not let them get their hands on these toys. Two groups, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) and the World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH), recently released their annual reports highlighting risky toys currently on shelves in stores. We aren’t talking about toys that are so incredibly lame they might seriously damage your kid’s reputation. (You know, like the Pogo Ball sans stick, or the infamous empty Star Wars box that many kids received years ago.) Rather, these are toys that can expose your kids to lead, hurt their eyes and ears or pose a choking risk. However, we suggest you keep your kids away from lame toys as well. Photo Credit: Retinafunk
According to the product description for this toy, “with Wolverine on the prowl, the only chance the bad guys have is to run and hide.” But toy safety advocates think that children should be the ones hiding. According to WATCH, this Wolverine action figure poses a serious hazard to children. Not only is there a risk of choking (as cautioned on the product itself), but the group argues that children can hurt their eyes. In particular, the figurine has claws on both hands, but only one of them retracts. So if kids lead with the right hook, they might actually poke an eye out.
This Hasbro toy is considered a choking hazard and allegedly does not include proper warnings on the product. According to PIRG, the bird includes small parts that only barely meet minimum size requirements and could easily block a child’s airway. Hasbro, however, recently denied those claims in a statement to CNN Money.
This children’s book, which is part of the Curious George series, couldn’t sound more innocent unless it replaced the word “book” with “rainbows.” Yet, even this poses a risk to children. The book features a small rod with beads on it that serves a counting device, and according to WATCH, if one or more of these beads were to come off of the rod, it could easily result in a small child choking to death.
Elmo has apparently been hanging with a bad crowd. The PIRG recently screened many children’s toys currently on the shelves to see which, if any, had lead, phthalates or other chemicals. The good news is that only five products came back positive. The bad news is that some of them are pretty popular toys. In particular, the Elmo Lunch Bag was flagged for having phthalates (a chemical used in plastics).
This touch and feel cloth book apparently features trace amounts of lead on one of its pages. Between this and the Curious George Book, we’re thinking you may just want to buy e-readers for your kids soon.
How awesome is this toy? Awesome enough to shoot your eye out (just like a Red Rider BB Gun). The toy blaster shoots darts, which, according to WATCH, have enough force to cause a serious eye injury. Perhaps Wild Planet Entertainment, the company distributing this product, should shift away from children and start targeting teenagers instead.
There’s a lot to fear about these seemingly benign babies. The baby in question comes with a bathtub that contains small plastic shower attachments. These pieces are small and easy to swallow, according to WATCH, making it a big choking hazard. So if you are going to buy this baby toy, consider throwing away the shower piece and replacing it with a rag.
The Learning Phone features sing-along songs, cell phone tunes and other musical activities designed to help kids learn. But it may be too loud, says PIRG. Unlike other toys on their list, the Learning Phone is not blacklisted because of chemicals or small parts, but rather because it’s too noisy and could damage a child’s hearing. It may sound like a silly reason not to buy a toy, but according to PIRG, nearly 15% of children ages 6 to 17 show signs of hearing loss, which may be directly related to the “acoustic standards” of the toys and gadgets they use.
In 2008, 19 children died and more than 170,000 children visited emergency rooms due to toy-related injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. While a certain amount of that is undoubtedly the fault of manufacturers, there are some basic steps parents can take to ensure their kids stay safe. Several of the toys on this list come with small parts that are easy to swallow. Parents should inspect toys in the store carefully before purchasing. Even if the toy meets all the minimum size requirements, it may still be a risky buy. Also, while the CPSC is not able to catalogue each and every potentially dangerous toy out there, they and other consumer advocacy groups do a good job of catching many risky products. So be sure to do a little research before shopping, and check product safety advisories at cpsc.gov and uspirg.org. And of course, if you do buy the toy and witness some close calls at home, don’t hesitate to take it away from your child and inform the manufacturer and a consumer protection organization. Photo Credit: forestryimages.org