Consumer advocate groups have recently released annual lists of dangerous toys to avoid as you search for that tiny tot’s perfect gift. Eye injuries, potential strangulation, and forehead impact are just some of the alarming warnings associated with these “worst of the worsts.”
The World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) has published its findings since 1973, and this year’s top 10 offenders include everything from a seemingly harmless stuffed animal to a realistic-looking toy machine gun. Some highlights from the current W.A.T.C.H. list include:
• True Legends Orc Battle Hammer – 3-year-old children are instructed to wield a long hard plastic hammer. No warnings are included on the packaging.
• Bottle Rocket Party – Although targeted to children as young as 8, a warning says shooting off bottle rockets is “a major event,” and no safety tools are included.
• Catapencil – The name alone should probably be enough to sound the alarm. Using a pencil as a catapult – particularly with no warnings – is generally not a good idea at any age.
• Air Storm Firetek Bow – This bow and arrow set (for age 8 and up) advertises it can shoot “up to 145 feet!” yet warns about never pulling the bow back more than half strength.
Reaction from the toy industry was swift. Its main trade group, the Toy Industry Association, defends its products by stating it works closely with federal agencies like the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Bureau. The group also says organizations like W.A.T.C.H. “take advantage of the high visibility of toys during the holiday season.”