Despite warning labels, dangerous toys continue to be sold and marketed. (Photo: iStock)
                           Despite warning labels, dangerous toys continue to be sold and marketed. (Photo: iStock)

Toys are some of the most common gifts during the holiday season for both children and adults alike. While consumers should expect that toys are safe for all ages, the reality is that unsafe toys remain an ongoing problem.

Boston-based nonprofit World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc. reports that one child is treated in a U.S. emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury. In 2014, there were over 251,000 toy-related injuries, and 61 children died in toy-related incidents between 2010 and 2014.

According to the organization, dangerous toys that have the potential to cause serious injury and even death continue to be distributed because of the following issues:
  • Inconsistent warnings and age recommendations. Omissions and inconsistencies regarding important safety information can lead to misinformed, and potentially dangerous, consumer toy purchases. One item on the World Against Toys Causing Harm’s list of dangerous toys for 2016 is sold without warnings regarding potential suffocation hazards for babies. Other toys are either sold with different age recommendations depending on the package bought or fail to warn of potential hazards altogether. Whether buying toys online or at a retail store, parents should thoroughly inspect a toy and its packaging prior to putting it into the hands of a child.
  • Unsafe toy designs and manufacturing practices. While recalls are an important safety measure, they are only a bandage for a larger issue: Dangerous toys shouldn’t reach the hands of consumers in the first place. Recalls are reactive, not proactive. Many of the toys recalled in the last year are evidence of substandard manufacturing practices and inadequate premarket testing. Moreover, some toys that are in compliance with current industry or regulatory standards have proven to be hazardous, demonstrating the inadequacy of existing standards.
  • Lack of awareness of unsafe toys on the market. Consumers expect toys to be safe once they are for sale. It is important for consumers to inspect new toys — as well as existing toys in homes and schools — for dangerous hazards, and check for recalls. Consumers should look out for classic toy dangers that still make it on shelves today, including small parts, strings, projectiles, toxic substances and rigid materials. And always make sure to check warnings.

World Against Toys Causing Harm has released its list of the top 10 most dangerous toys for 2016:

Doomhammer

                                                         Warcraft Doomhammer has the potential for blunt impact injuries.

10. Warcraft Doomhammer

Manufacturer or distributor: Jakks Pacific Inc.

Sold by: Toys R Us, Amazon.com.

Age recommendation: “6+.”

Warnings: “Warning. Not suitable for children under 36 months. Small parts. Choking hazard.”

Hazard: Potential for blunt impact injuries

Six-year-old children are encouraged to “[f]eel the power of the horde!” with the “legendary Doomhammer,” based on weaponry in the “Warcraft” movie. The manufacturer offers no warnings regarding potential impact injuries associated with foreseeable use of the heavy, rigid plastic battle hammer.

Baby Magic Feed and Play

                                                       This Feed and Play Baby has the potential for ingestion injuries.

9. Baby Magic Feed and Play Baby

Manufacturer or distributor: New Adventures LLC Ltd.

Sold by: Toys R Us, Amazon.com, Sears.com.

Age recommendation: “2+.”

Warnings: None.

Hazard: Potential for ingestion injuries.

The Baby Magic doll, which plays “peek a boo,” comes with a baby bottle, high chair, blanket, food dish and “interactive spoon.” The slender, rigid plastic spoon is approximately 2 and ¾ inches long, with the potential to be mouthed and get stuck in a child’s airway.

 

Flying Heroes Superman Launcher

                                                  This flying Superman toy has the potential for eye and facial injuries.

8. Flying Heroes Superman Launcher

Manufacturer or distributor: I-Star Entertainment LLC; Bridge Direct Inc.

Sold by: Toys R Us, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Sears.com, Ebay.com, BigW.com.

Age recommendation: “4+.”

Warnings: “Warning! Never aim at eyes or face,” and other “safety instructions” and warnings on packaging and insert.

Hazard: Potential for eye and facial injuries.

This flying, winged superhero figurine is sold with a launcher for children as young as 4 years old, who are encouraged to “Grip it!” and “Rip it!” The instructions caution that the Superman character should only be launched “at arm’s length and pointing up and away from your face.”

Peppy Pups

                                                     Peppy Pups’ leash has the potential for strangulation injuries.

7. Peppy Pups

Manufacturer or distributor: TPF Toys Ltd.

Sold by: Toys R Us.

Age recommendation: “2+.”

Warnings: None. (Instructions on packaging: “Adult supervision required.”)

Hazard: Potential for strangulation injuries.

Despite the industry’s standard requiring strings on playpen and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length, manufacturers are permitted to market pull toys such as the Peppy Pup with a cord measuring approximately 31 inches.

Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch

                                                             Butch’s tail has the potential for puncture wound injuries.

6. Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch

Manufacturer or distributor: Tomy.

Sold by: Amazon.com, Walmart.com, ToyRUs.com.

Age recommendation: “3+.”

Warnings: “WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD ― Small parts … . Not for children under 3 years.”

Hazard: Potential for puncture wound injuries.

Operation of the dinosaur by children as young as 3 in order to evoke “galloping action and sounds” requires the push of a button on the toy’s rigid, pointed tail, which may be held close to a child’s torso or face. There exists a potential for significant puncture wound injuries during encouraged playtime activity.

Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 Blaster

                                                                              This blaster has the potential for eye injuries.

5. Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 Blaster

Manufacturer or distributor: Hasbro.

Sold by: Walmart.com, Target.com, Amazon.com, Kmart.com.

Age recommendation: “14+.”

Warnings: None.

Hazard: Potential for eye injuries.

The manufacturer of this “blaster” with an “easy-load magazine” encourages “precision battling” during “intense head-to-head competition.” The ammunition provided can shoot with enough force to potentially cause eye injuries. Images on the box depict children wearing masks covering their face and eyes, however the face mask is not included and must be purchased separately.

Banzai Bump N Bounce Body Bumpers

                                                               Banzai’s Body Bumpers have the potential for impact injuries.

4. Banzai Bump N Bounce Body Bumpers

Manufacturer or distributor: ToyQuest.

Sold by: Walmart, Amazon.com, Ebay.com, Sears.com.

Age recommendation: “4-12.”

Warnings: “WARNING! To avoid risk of serious injury or death: … This product does not provide protection. Impact hazard may present; protective equipment (for head, elbows, knees, hands, etc) should be worn (not included),” and other warnings/cautious on package insert, packaging and product.

Hazard: Potential for impact injuries.

Children as young as 4 are encouraged to “slip into your bumper suit for a ‘bumpin’ bump ‘em’ fun time!” Children on the packaging are shown running into each other without any protection (not included), as recommended by the manufacturer.

Slimeball Slinger

                                                     Basically a slingshot, the Slimeball Slinger has the potential for eye injuries.

3. Slimeball Slinger

Manufacturer or distributor: Diggin Active Inc.

Sold by: Toys R Us, Amazon.com.

Age recommendation: “6+.”

Warnings: “WARNING! Never shoot at any person or animal …” and other warnings, cautions and instructions on package.

Hazard: Potential for eye injuries.

The slimeball launcher is similar to a slingshot, and is sold with bright green “slimeballs” as ammunition, which can be fired “over 30 feet!” Projectiles launched with such force have the potential to cause serious eye injuries.

Kids Time Baby Children’s Elephant Pillow

This elephant-designed pillow is marketed for infants without any warnings, despite these types of products being banned by the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.

2. Kids Time Baby Children’s Elephant Pillow

Manufacturer or distributor: Kids Time US and Appease Toys.

Sold by: Amazon.com

Age recommendation: “>3 years old, Grown-ups” (retailer website only).

Warnings: None. Product description on retailer website states in part: “When this elephant pillow [is] for use with infant, it should be under adult supervision.”

Hazard: Potential for suffocation.

This large, plush pillow in the form of a cuddly stuffed elephant is marketed with an image on the retailer’s website depicting an infant snuggling alone with the plush animal. There are no warnings or age recommendations on the product itself. The hazards associated with pillows sold for infants are well documented. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned that a pillow can block a baby’s mouth and can cause a baby to suffocate. “Infant pillow[s]” and “any other similar article[s]” which are “intended or promoted for use by children under one year of age” have been banned by the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (16 CFR 1500.18).

Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles Family

                                                        This “Peppa Pig” figurine set has the potential for choking injuries.

1. Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles Family

Manufacturer or distributor: Jazwares LLC.

Sold by: Target, Amazon.com.

Age recommendation: “2+ or 3+” (depending on which packaging purchased).

Warnings: “WARNING! CHOKING HAZARD ― small parts. Not for children under 3 years” (on some packages for sale, not on others).

Hazard: Potential for choking injuries.

Incredibly, despite the “choking hazard” warning and “3+” age recommendation on the packaging of some toys, other packages of what appear to be the same toys are sold for oral-age children as young as “2+” with no warnings about toy-related hazards.

All photos were provided by World Against Toys Causing Harm.

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