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

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?

  • Lawn Darts 1 of 10
    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.
  • Trampoline 2 of 10
    What a buzz kill, I know. But trampoline injuries led to 98,000 trips to the emergency room in 2009 alone. In fact, the risk of injury is so high that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that trampolines should never be used at home or in outdoor playgrounds. The AAP supports limited use of trampolines in supervised training programs, such as gymnastics and diving classes. But even then, strict safety guidelines must be followed. Buzz kill? Maybe. But I ain't buying one for my kid. Ever.
  • Chemistry Set 3 of 10
    Chemistry Set
    Is it really a good idea to give nutty little boys beakers of weird stuff to mix and explode?
  • Woodburning Kit 4 of 10
    Woodburning Kit
    My brother had one of these, and I cannot begin to count the things that went wrong. First, the cord is, like, three inches long so you end up plugging it into the wall near flammable stuff like curtains. Secondly, he was all the time trying to singe me with the thing. I don't know who the genius is that came up with this one but again, NYET.
  • Old Skool Sleds 5 of 10
    Old Skool Sleds
    This is an example of a good idea executed poorly. I mean, sleds aren't exactly the safest thing around in the first place. But take something that rockets down a hill at a high rate of speed, add heavy duty metal runners that can slice a 10-year-old femoral artery like butter, and you've got trouble.
  • B.B. Gun 6 of 10
    B.B. Gun
    Do I really need to say it? Okay: YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT. Or, in my case, your brother will shoot at you while you're jumping on the trampoline, (a deadly toy twofer!) lodging a B.B. in your chest. Then he will hand the gun to your little brother and tell your mom he did it.
  • Sling Shot 7 of 10
    Sling Shot
    I am certain I have a scar somewhere on my arm from when my brother did sling-shot target practice using me as the bulls-eye. No good can come of this "toy."
  • The Pogo Ball 8 of 10
    The Pogo Ball
    The Pogo Ball was featured on a lot of lists I found on the internet, like this one on It's not so much that they're dangerous if used properly but, as reported on Guyism, "When friends weren't trying to find the maximum height they could jump from in which these things would stay intact, they were using them indoors. That was where the danger really stemmed from. Pogo Balling was only fun if you had an obstacle course and limited space; only indoor Pogo Balling seemed challenging."
  • Razor Scooters 9 of 10
    Razor Scooters
    These are super popular and aren't going away. But did you know that injury from non-motorized scooters is the leading cause of toy-related injury and death. The CPSC reports these injuries involved lacerations, contusions, and abrasions to the child's face and head. Source:
  • Balls 10 of 10
    I saw a lot of statistics all over the web touting stuff like kids choking on small balls is the cause of half of all toy-related deaths in children. The CPSC says toy-related deaths to children younger than 15 increased to 17 fatalities reported in 2010, up from 15 reported in 2009. Nearly half of these toy-related fatalities were attributed to choking on balloons, small balls, and rubber balls. Then I stumbled onto this site, Polite Dissent, which really breaks down the numbers. So if choking on balls isn't the most dangerous, it falls back to nonmotorized scooters.


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