Are you still doing your holiday shopping trying to find toys for your sons, daughters, nieces and nephews? If so, here is a piece of advice. Do not, and I repeat, do not, buy them any of these toys. Why? Because these were voted the most dangerous toys of 2011 by W.A.T.C.H (World Against Toys Causing Harm).
Each year W.A.T.C.H puts together their 10 Worst Toys list, toys that can bodily injury and even death.
Fold-and-Go Trampoline 1 of 5"HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR HEAD, NECK AND OTHER BODILY INJURIES!"
This portable trampoline does have a disclaimer saying, "Never attempt any other functions or gymnastic functions or rough lay on the trampoline, this trampoline is designed for young children ONLY. The only function on this trampoline should be a controlled bounce (exercise), for young children. No other functions should occur other then [sic] controlled bounce." Doesn't sound very much fun now does it?
Haba Duck Pull Toy 2 of 5"HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR STRANGULATION INJURIES!"
The big issue with this seemingly cute duck is that the cord is 33" long, but the industry standard for toy strings is usually just 12".
Power Rangers Samurai Mega Blade 3 of 5"HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR IMPACT INJURIES! "
Well, a toy named "Samurai Mega Blade" kind of implies some kind of danger just in it's title. The flip out plastic sword extends a full two feet and apparently has the potential to do some real harm.
The Incredible Shrinky Dinks Maker 4 of 5"HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR ELECTRIC SHOCK AND BURN INJURIES!"
There are so many warnings for this toy that it doesn't seem suitable for kids of ANY age.
Twist ‘n Sort 5 of 5"HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR CHOKING INJURIES! "
This educational sorting toy had dangerous aspect that the wooden pegs could come off and could cause choking.
And check out the rest of the “Worst Toys” right here.
[Editors Update] HABA, one of the companies whose products made W.A.T.C.H’s list, has issued a response. We are reprinting it in its entirety:
For consumers, Black Friday signals the kickoff of the holiday shopping season. For manufacturers, it’s time for annual unsubstantiated wild claims like the “10 Worst Toys List” from World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) and “Trouble in Toyland” from Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), announced at national press conferences. These toy safety activist groups prey on parents and scare them into believing that no toys are safe for their children. As a parent, I’d think it was my duty to know which toys were named the “worst” so I could avoid them. But what these public interest groups don’t make clear is that the “dangerous”and “harmful” toys on their lists generally pass and exceed all safety testing standards.
Our German toy company, HABA, has built a solid reputation as a manufacturer of high-quality wooden playthings for more than 70 years. This year, we had a product named to both reports, and one of our products made PIRG’s Trouble in Toyland report last year. All three products in question exceed all U.S. and European toy safety standards. The toy that made PIRG’s report this year is a bag of wooden fruit for ages 3 and up. Each piece is at least 2″ long and ovular or round. All pieces pass and exceed the “choke tube” test mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). PIRG acknowledges this but notes that the toy contains “near small parts” and is not suitable for a child, despite that the toy’s packaging contains the required choking warning label.
HABA’s “worst toy,” as named by WATCH, is a wooden duck pulling toy. WATCH incorrectly claims that the toy is “crib toy” and a strangulation hazard because it has a string longer than 12″. They didn’t even get the regulation correct. Pulling toys, which are not the same as a crib toy, are subject to a specific standard for the length of the string, which our toy passes. Pulling toys, made by several companies, do not belong in a crib and are excellent at encouraging developing walkers and crawlers.
What WATCH and PIRG fail to mention is that toy recalls and toy-related deaths have been steeply declining over the past decade. HABA, and every other toy company, goes through great cost and effort to ensure that every toy sold is safe. At around $4,000 in testing per toy, it sure isn’t cheap!
I think the greatest thing we can do as parents is make sure that our children are playing with age-appropriate toys. If your 3-year-old might try to swallow a 3″ long wooden pear, then don’t give that toy to your child. Common sense in parenting can go a long way, like, don’t wash your wooden toys in the dishwasher. Our children deserve to play with toys that stimulate and challenge them. Groups like PIRG and WATCH aim to sterilize and simplify our children’s toys and stifle their development, while placing all blame on toy companies and no responsibly with the parent.
–Lea Culliton, president of HABA USA, and mother of two children