W.A.T.C.H. Unveils Its Top Ten Most Dangerous Toys
The Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization World Against Toys Causing Harm, W.A.T.C.H. for short, recently revealed its 46th annual list of the top ten “worst toys” at Boston’s Franciscan Children’s Hospital just in time for the holiday shopping season. Joan Siff, the organization’s president, warned many toys make it into homes despite posing safety hazards year after year. Siff also said parents should shop “defensively” and not assume a toy is safe simply because they are familiar with the brand name or it is being sold at a popular retailer. One child is admitted to an emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury, according to the Center for Injury and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
A wide variety of toys were examined by the organization. A Cabbage Patch Kids ballerina doll for “children ages two and above,” made the list. It includes a removable tutu and headband that can be choking hazards. A mallet that comes with VTech’s caterpillar-shaped electronic xylophone is another choking threat. Other potentially hazardous toys include a Nerf gun that fires soft discs, a “stomp rocket” that launches foam-tipped projectiles, and a plastic “cutting fruit” set. The cutting set includes toy knife made out of rigid plastic similar to a traditional knife.
The Toy Association group, an industry trade group, responded that W.A.T.C.H.’s list is biased and “needlessly frightening.” The association pointed out many of the hazards are clearly listed on the products’ packaging and in included instructions. It also indicated only two products listed on W.A.T.C.H.’s “worst toy” lists from the five years prior were actually recalled.
W.A.T.C.H. responded by saying a detailed warning label “doesn’t absolve” toy makers from needing to design safer products. “They’re trying to shift the responsibility to parents and consumers,” James Swartz, a trial lawyer who serves as W.A.T.C.H.’s director, said. “They’re really shirking their responsibility.”
Hasbro’s retractable plastic claws for Marvel’s Black Panther is a great example. The toy gloves come with a warning they should not be used to swing at people. But that doesn’t mean that’s not what’s going to happen, Swartz said. “When you call it a slash claw,” he said, “there’s likely one thing a child is going to do with that claw.”
The 2018 list contains the following ten products. The reason for each of the ten making it onto the list is included:
- Nickelodeon Nella Princess Knight Pillow Pets Sleeptime Lites for its “potential for ingestion and battery-related injuries.”
- Nerf Vortex VTX Praxis Blaster for its “potential for eye injuries.”
- Marvel Black Panther Slash Claw for its “potential for eye and facial injuries.”
- Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Superstar Blade for its “potential for blunt force and eye injuries.”
- Cabbage Patch Kids Dance Time Doll for its “potential for choking injuries.”
- Zoo Jamz Xylophone for its “potential for ingestion and choking injuries.”
- Nici Wonderland Doll: Miniclara the Ballerina for its “potential for choking injuries.”
- Stomp Rocket Ultra Rocket for its “potential for eye, face and other impact injuries.”
- Cutting Fruit for its “potential for puncture and blunt force injuries.”
- Chien Á Promener Pull Along Dog for its “potential for entanglement and strangulation injuries.