In the eyes of most children, many new toys are welcomed additions to their (probably already overflowing) toy chests — especially around the holidays. That’s why we’re already seeing an influx of toy commercials aimed at our savvy young wannabe shoppers.
But for parents, most toys aren’t exactly created equal. Some of us are more interested in the STEM or educational variety of gift, while others opt for toys that spark creativity. And then there are those of us who just can’t help but want to give in to our children’s biggest toy desires.
Whatever category you fall into, it’s probably safe to say that if you are a parent thinking about what to gift your child this season, safety is a pretty big non-negotiable.
Enter World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc (W.A.T.C.H.), which has once again compiled a list of the worst 10 toys currently on the market in terms of the safety threats they pose to young kids.
Among the finalists are what many consider to be the worst toy anyhow, the now-infamous fidget spinner. W.A.T.C.H. names Hand Fidgetz Spinners by Kipp Brothers among the worst of the bunch because of the object’s chocking hazard potential, but also because the thing is actually supposed to be sold as a novelty and not a toy.
Okay so odds are your kid already glommed onto the fidget spinner craze if he or she was into them. So what other toys made the list?
The Marvel Spider-Man drone, for one, thanks to its highly dangerous, rapidly moving blades. Or the Nerf Zombie Strike Deadbolt Crossbow because of its potential to cause eye injuries when kids are pointing their weapons at faces. Or the Wonder Woman Battle-Action Sword, which is basically a sword that kids are supposed to battle other kids with. And then there’s the Jetts Heel Wheels, which are essentially wheels that you strap onto a kid’s shoes in order to transform them into skates. The only problem? The packaging comes with about a zillion warnings including potential for blunt impact and fire-related trauma.
Sounds pretty fun, doesn’t it?
The Brianna Babydoll from Melissa & Doug, Hallmark’s Itty Bittys Baby Stacking Toys, Tolo’s Pull Along Pony, the Oval Xylophone by Plan Toys also made the list due to their various removable parts that could serve as choking hazards to kids, while the Slackers Slackline Classic Series Kit, which is basically a wire that kids are supposed to install across two trees in order to walk across it, was nominated for being a potential strangulation hazard.
It’s important to note that some of these toys, like the stackers, have been recalled from store shelves but are still available for consumers to purchase online. And therein lies the bigger problem, according to W.A.T.C.H.
“Many consumers never receive notice of toy recalls and may not know that a dangerous toy sits like a time bomb in their child’s toy box,” reads a press release sent out in conjunction with the list. “Many of the toys recalled in the last year not only put children at risk of serious injury or death, but also are evidence of substandard manufacturing practices and inadequate pre-market testing.”
So what’s the bottom line? For now it’s buyer beware. If you want to make sure that the toys you’re investing in this holiday season are safe and sound for your kids, we recommend doing a thorough Google search on the product before actually purchasing it. Reading some online reviews from other parents, or posting in a parenting Facebook group can also be helpful in getting some first-person feedback about those who have enjoyed the product. And if you do go ahead and purchase something, always register for the recall notifications if the product comes with a card to do so.
After all, you can’t put a price on peace of mind.
Now keep calm and shop on.