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When Toys Could Kill a Kid: 10 Most Dangerous Toys Then and Now

By Monica Bielanko |

A pointy, metal stake that you throw in the area while a bunch of people stand nearby. What could possibly go wrong?

I grew up with three brothers, which means I have close, personal experience being victimized by most toys that could kill a kid made between 1980 and 2000.

Sometimes the toys are just plain stupid and shouldn’t ever be bought for children (thanks a lot, mom!) However, sometimes the idea is right but the toy was made in a dangerous way.  I’ll explain more below.

With Black Friday or Black Thursday or Cyber Monday (or whatever big shopping day corporations desperately want you to buy into) at hand, I thought I’d show you what not to buy for your children. Ever. Someone’s going to get hurt. Trust me, I’ve been there.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, toy-related deaths to children younger than 15 increased to 17 fatalities reported in 2010, up from 15 reported in 2009.

Most of the toys featured below are from my very own list, but a couple were featured on several “Most Dangerous Toys” lists circulating on the internet. Statistically speaking, if you buy your children some of the toys on the list, they will get injured. The last two toys are everywhere and are seemingly innocuous but cause the most injuries and deaths among children. Can you guess what they are?

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When Toys Could Kill a Kid: 10 Most Dangerous Toys Then and Now

Lawn Darts

A pointy metal stake that you throw into the area while a bunch of people stand around ... What could possibly go wrong? More than 6,500 people reported lawn dart injuries before they were recalled and made illegal in 1988.


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About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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37 thoughts on “When Toys Could Kill a Kid: 10 Most Dangerous Toys Then and Now

  1. Andrea says:

    We have a (netted) trampoline, a razor scooter, a wooden sled, slingshots and we are a family of archers. We are also hunters, so I think that puts the weapons in context. My kids know they can kill and do not aim their slingshots and arrows at other people. But partridges? Have at ‘er!
    The scooters and sleds are ridden with helmets, and we have a “no flips” rule on the trampoline. You can’t fall off it because of the net.
    At the end of the day, they are all fun! What ARE kids allowed to play with? Bits of sponge and marshmallows? I suppose you could choke on those! Best just sit on the couch and not move!

  2. the original Sarah says:

    Andrea, they can’t play with the marshmallows! Don’t you know they could choke? LOL

  3. Korinthia Klein says:

    I agree with Andrea about the trampoline with the net. My kids mostly just run around in circles in ours and seem safer than they do on the ground. And scooters? Balls? Sheesh. Kids get bumped and scraped and it’s part of life. I still get bumped and scraped! I’m not crazy about the lawn darts or the BB gun, but even those I can see finding a safe way to use if you supervise your kids properly. (Seriously, balls?)

  4. Leanne says:

    Scooters the leading cause of non-motorized accidents? 20 years ago that would be bikes. *sigh* Childhood has been erased by liability concerns.

  5. Let kids have fun says:

    The term ‘helicopter parent’ springs to mind. Let the kid have a trampoline! My favourite childhood memories are jumping on my tramp, not to mention the health benefits!

  6. Corey M says:

    I think this is so funny! Kids need to be kids. Almost everything can be considered a hazard if used in the wrong way. If parents keep a good eye on their kids while they are playing then most kids should be just fine. Most all the toys instead above I grew up on and I am just fine. All kids get hurt. It’s what they do. Kids fall off the monkey bars at school and break bones. I guess like Andrea said, we should just not move. If we are still we can’t get hurt. We can’t really live either. LET KIDS HAVE FUN AND BE KIDS FOR HEAVENS SAKES.

  7. Michelle says:

    My husband has a set of lawn darts. When I pointed out that they were on this list, his response was, “Yeah, they are dangerous. That’s why they are awesome”. Sigh.

  8. rebekah says:

    Wow I surrived my childhood. I did suff like play in the ditch after it rain rode are bikes up and down. Let kids be kids, We have trampoline with no net, but they 2 year old is on it then I am outside with her. She is just as tough as her bubba’s (14 and 12)

  9. Kristina says:

    I had almost every toy on this list. Thats why parents are sopposed to be there, to teach them and supervise how to use the toy. I loved my pogoball. I had my own bb gun at 6, then a .22 rifle at 10. I never wore a helmet. I skateboarded. Rode bikes. Jumped my big wheel off an 8 ft. porch. Look up Dennis Leary video on kids playing lol. :)

  10. Jessica says:

    When I was a little girl I got hit on the top of the head thrown by some guy in my dad’s unit at a Air Force Base picnic. No damage though, my really thick hair saved me. I also had three brothers growing up and they were revolving doors in the ER. All there accidents were random stuff (throwing rocks in the lake and one stepped in the way, jumping off the tailgate of a truck) and many others. None of them were from toys besides bikes that I recall…. We all lived and I now have this super funny story about lawn jarts!

  11. Ren ripples says:

    All these stupid lawsuits and bans because of personal negligence and stupidity on both the parents and child’s account and then to blame company’s and putting liability on them because they made it yet you chose to use it . you do not throw lawn darts into a crowded area ….stupid people should not breed ever . gov has banned recess, and is starting to take down playgrounds, and a host of other things because lazy retards are overpopulating , I personally am a little tired of warnings on packages for retards.who have no common sense and also tired of suffering because of retards , I mean who eat’s a pizza still in a closed box yet there is a warning to open the container and take the pizza out before consuming plus let it cool down A person with down syndrome is more intellectually sound then these lawsuit idiots . . Cant wait to buy every one of these toys. , i grew up with these toys and a host of others yet never got hurt…guess i am blessed thank goodness maybe my gene pool can save humanity and show them to live a little. . Company’s should attach a warning pamphlet to there product , that they are not liable for anything of your personal choosing. you chose to buy it use it responsibly and deal with the consequences when you don’t !

  12. Ren ripples says:

    I just want to add why your parents even entrusted your irresponsible brother with a wood burning kit, and why after the first time of him trying to burn you, they did not take it away till he used it responsibly? or did you just make that up for effect?

  13. Cyndi says:

    I remember having big cement pipes on our playgrounds when I was little, in the 80′s, and kids cracked their heads open ALL the They’re fine, they’re still alive. Ugly and dumb, but what’r you gonna do lol My friend did fall off our trampoline and break her arm. God rest her soul. Just kidding. She always looked behind her after that, when doing back flips. Now she’s smart =] And alive. My mom broke her foot when she was using a jump rope! I’m sure some kids got strangled from those things. I remember getting hit in the head with a softball, and other kids getting kissed by tether balls lol SMACK! aah childhood. That’s why kids are made out of rubber and don’t have hard 50 year old bones. To play with toys!

  14. michelle says:

    @Ren Ripples: A) Easy on the retard comments; B) I hope your grammar isn’t a reflection of your gene pool; and C) Lighten up, man. She was just pointing out what, statistically, are the most dangerous toys. The toys that have ALWAYS given kids the most injuries, even waaayyyy back in your glory day.

  15. Mary B. says:

    Pogo balls? Really?!?!

  16. James D. says:

    The most dangerous toys often don’t look that dangerous at all. Choking on small toys is the number one toy-related danger, it sends way more kids to the emergency room than lawn darts or bb guns. Toxic toys also pose a big danger and can’t always be easily recognized. A surprisingly large number of toys contain dangerous levels of chemicals like lead and phthalates. For a good list of toy shopping tips, check out

  17. Mbaker says:


    I’m not sure where you get your info (FOX News maybe?) but the government hasn’t banned recess or playgrounds. My son loves recess and I take my boys to some really fun playgrounds all the time.

  18. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Apparently, Ren gets the special pizza, if you know what I mean.

  19. Jennifer says:

    I just have to say that your brother and my cousin would have been best friends LOL We had BB wars all the time and he still has a BB lodged in his shoulder from when I decided to take a stand and not put up with him. Guess what? We are best friends now because we respect each other. I got my first BB gun when I was 7 and am now one hell of a shot. I out shot my husband and his friend at the range last week and they are both trained on M-16s in the Air Force. As far as the other toys on the list are concerned, how can you learn to stand if you never fall down?

  20. Manjari says:

    Why is it always the people who don’t know the difference between plural and possessive calling everyone else in the world stupid?

  21. Linda, t.o.o. says:

    I’m going to try and find that woodburning kit for my 11 year old. He learned to burn paterns on to wood with a magnifying glass at camp fire camp over the summer and I think he’d love it. I actually would love a netted trampoline. We already have scooters (and skateboards & skates), a chemistry set, sleds and balls (WTH doesn’t have balls?!)

  22. Jessica says:

    I agree with the sleds. My cousin (who was 9 years old) was sledding with his family and hit a tree head first and was killed. It terrifies me to think how easily and quickly it happened. I won’t forbid my children from playing on them, because I get that they are a lot of fun. But, when the day comes that they want to go sledding, I will be the craziest of helicopter parents on the top of that hill (or heck, sitting behind them on the sled).

  23. Koreen says:

    I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen clips of trampoline fun gone wrong on America’s Funniest Home videos.

  24. (London) Amanda says:

    Not exactly a toy, but when I was about six and my brother aged eight, we went to France for a holiday. We had stopped for a pee or something and my brother told me to touch this fence. So of course,adoring my big brother, I did – and got a nasty electric shock!
    My brother knew this cos he was already learning French at school so saw the warning not to touch and thought it would be nice to see me ‘jump’!

    Still don’t trust him decades later.

  25. Ren ripples says:

    I was not calling the poster a retard nor was i calling every one in the world a retard just a select few lawsuit dummy’s, and my grammar I could care less on especially when I am on a tangent. It is maddening , that so many sue on personal negligence and lack of common sense, then to top it off to have other’s not from this country believe we are brainless because we have so many warning labels and lawsuits concerning misuse of said items.When the first brainless lawsuit won I reeled in agony from the laughter, made me want to dump coffee on my lap for a few bucks but I did not. Then the lawsuit against food company’s for making a person fat bah no one told that mother to force feed her child processed food instead of a home cooked meal and no one told her to feed excessive portions either. and then there was another lawsuit concerning a fun house that flew away in the wind. A ) no one told you to buy it. B) no one told you to blow it up without weighing it down C) and common sense tells you on a windy day , you do not set something up that can fly away…. When i use the word retard i am not using it for people with mental disability’s because at the very least i have seen from news reports they have common sense and intellect just at a slower pace as there were two “handicapped” parents who raised two “normal” children by themselves. I use the word retard where it is due and for lack of common sense , negligence, and thought that is properly used. The best lawsuit story was of that women who glued her eyes shut bahaha she should of glued her mouth shut too.

  26. Linda, t.o.o. says:

    “I use the word retard where it is due and for lack of common sense , negligence, and thought that is properly used.” I use the word “asshole” where it is due for those who fail to demonstrate basic human decency and respect. I believe I am using it properly when I apply it to you.

  27. Andrea says:

    I don’t think the word “retard” means someone with Downs Syndrome anymore, just as the word “gay” doesn’t mean carefree and happy anymore. I wonder at the wisdom of the developmentally different trying to hang on the word “retard” as a descriptor. It seems counterproductive to insist the word is a description of a chromosomal difference when in reality, it is used to describe someone stupid. Meanings change. I can’t remember the last time I heard the word “retard” used to describe someone with Downs. It seems to have become something else.

  28. Ren ripples says:

    Linda, I suppose you are incompetent because I never referred to you, yet you are getting in a huff and feel insulted because i used the word retard . Why are you a lawsuit retard as well? And Andrea, words change, No gay does not have just one definition anymore, it could be happy , or it could be used to describe a homosexual. Just as herb is used to describe a lame person yet it is also used to describe a plant etc . Every one is so touchy yet i never personally referred to anyone, grow up , People who sue for personal stupidity/negligence yet chose to use a product then misuse it, then sue the company because they caused the accident deserve every negative label thrown at them. Parent’s need to watch/teach/explain to there children or give them up to someone who will instead of letting them find out the dangerous way.while no adult supervision is employed . who throws lawn jarts in a crowd ? or leave a 6 year old with a wood burning kit without adult supervision before fully explaining how it is intended to be used and what it is not to be used for. bah. Maybe these people are missing a few chromosomes and many brain cells as well.

  29. Linda, t.o.o. says:

    Only an asshole uses the word “retard” as a pejorative, as anyone one with either common sense OR a single working brain cell knows. Please continue to defend it to the ends of the earth though, as it demonstrates what you are just perfectly. Maybe people are “touchy” as you so eloquently put it, because we have friends or loved ones who have children with down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities. I’m sorry you’re either too obtuse or too stubborn to “get it.” Either way, these children are a lot better off than your progeny.

  30. Linda, t.o.o. says:

    “Maybe these people are missing a few chromosomes and many brain cells as well.” Down Syndrome is caused by having extra chromosomes, Einstein. Maybe you should concentrate of subjects you know a little about, like tractor pulls and trying not to bonk your own sister.

  31. Ren ripples says:

    Now where did i say people with down syndrome were missing chromosomes? I believe the previous “enlightened” poster said that :P Your an asshole I’am an asshole whatever happy turkey day, retard. Now get a life.

  32. Linda, t.o.o. says:

    “Your an asshole” And that just says it all, doesn’t it? :/

  33. cassidy says:

    remember kerbangers? those two balls on strings that you clonk together top and bottom click clack click clack – damn I LOVED those things and I had MAD BRUISES all over my forearms!!! I didn’t care. but they stopped making them, boo!!!!
    as for everything on the list, it just makes me sad that we are a culture so obsessed with safety – I mean hyper obsessed – I mean children don’t get to learn to take risks anymore and developmentally I think this is dangerous… no wonder we are growing generations of spoiled entitled demanding humans…
    it’s almost like the posters on here calling each other names and arguing over words!! it’s all kind of overkill, isn’t it?
    xoxoxoxo happy holidays!!!!

  34. LogicalMama says:

    Why haven’t the hostile comments been removed?! There is a note right above the post box we type comments in that states hostile comments will be removed?!

  35. Deb says:

    OMG I had a woodburning set and loved it. My mom never even watched me as I burned up those pictures. We used to throw dirt clots at each other with rocks inside. We rode scooters and had metal and wood sleds. I had a cool slingshot and I am sure I hit my brother a few times in the head. He had a air rifle that he jabbed into dirt and then shot it at a girl. Rocks and dirt went into her eye. My brother was about 5 at the time. The girl who was about 3 years old at the time lived and is on Facebook with me now. We all survived FIVE decades plus and did not die from these toys. I also had a pogo stick and was always falling off and hurting myself. Parents just need to watch the kids…let them play.

  36. Christine says:

    First of all, since lawn darts became illegal in 1988…this should no longer be considered a dangerous toy, because all the kids from then are now grown ups. Second, a trampoline? seriously? Most people with a trampoline, have netting and safety padding around them, also limit the number of people who can be on it a time and make the rule of no flipping when on it…can you say common sense? Razor Scooters…ever heard of a helmet? Duh….once again common sense. As for the slingshot and BB gun..I can see how these would be dangerous and you should make some rules before allowing your child to use these, but do not take them away all together just because they are dangerous. Kids need to PLAY outdoors more. My 10 year old has a BB gun, slingshot, razor scooter,and a trampoline, but he knows the rules. Oh by the way, he also enjoys playing Air soft as well.

  37. Kevin says:

    I know this is a bit if an old blog – but I am one who used to play with lawn darts and a whole mess of other toys and still managed to live to my forties. Parents really need to get the kids of their tit and let them live a little. These so called illegal toys they say can harm and or kill a kid, what do you think sitting in front of the tv playing xbox is doing?

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