Toys might be the best tools for children’s education and for playing as well, but some of the today’s toys can also be rather dangerous. Given their nature, babies and toddlers still don’t have developed the perception of their surroundings and shouldn’t be given the chance to play with any sharp toys or with toys made from plenty of small parts. Former can seriously injure them, and later ones could be broken or dismantled which can lead to kids swallowing some parts. Even some toys for older children can be dangerous which is evident by thousands of toy-related injuries and even number of deaths in the U.S.A. every year. Toys which are manufactured in third-world countries or developing countries have been known to cause injuries given their poor quality or thanks to the inappropriate materials they have been made from. You would be surprised, however, that toys made in world’s leading economies such as U.S.A. or Germany, for instance, can be as dangerous as the toys made in China. Mass market and globalization dictate harsh terms for many toy manufacturers and they often consort to some hasty measures, hence, they produce new, untested toy products in order to stay competitive. These products sometimes happen to be rather dangerous and achieve a completely opposite effect. Moreover, existing quality standards and safety regulations are inadequate, to say the least. How else would one describe them if they are unable to determine which toys are hazardous and which are safe?
World Against Toys Causing Harm or W.A.T.C.H. is a toy safety organization that is trying to raise the awareness about all of the aforementioned problems. They compile a list of 10 most hazardous toys every year, but the fact is that the list falls on deaf ears as some manufacturers and retailers are way too powerful, in the economic sense, to be forced to change or adjust their business models. As you might have guessed, some of the top hazards which make toys dangerous, make this list every year. This is proof enough for the previous statement. Five of these continuously appearing hazards are:
• Dangerous projectiles
• Strings that can cause strangulation
• Small detachable parts that present choking hazards
• Misleading or confusing warning labels, packaging, or instructions
• Toy “weapons” designed to look real.
Bearing all this in mind, W.A.T.C.H. had recently compiled a list of 10 most hazardous toys of 2014.
1. Air Storm Firetek Bow comes together with three illuminating arrows which are able to produce a high-pitched sound and to fly up to 145 feet of distance. Only warnings that kids get are: not to play in total darkness and not to pull the string more than half strength. Given the bow’s nature, most importantly its ability to glow in darkness and to shoot arrows so far, the only thing kids are going to say to the warnings is: “Yeah right”! Serious eye injuries are a constant threat with this toy weapon, even if children abide by the aforementioned warnings.
2. Radio Flyer Ziggle is a small four-wheeled cycle with a very low profile which is by itself a potential hazard. Children are supposed to wear protective gear at all times, but the packaging says otherwise. Eventual fall from the Ziggle can result in a vast variety of injuries, especially forehead injuries.
3. Cat-a-Pencil is yet another “piece of ingenuity” with potential eye hazards. It would have been funny if it wasn’t dangerous. Who in their right mind could think of something like that? Old fashioned pencil with slingshot attached to its top. Wasn’t its sharpness dangerous enough?
4. Alphabet Zoo Rock & Stack Pull Toy is a pull-based toy with a 20-inch cord which can pose entanglement injuries, and in the worst-case scenario, strangulation. Safety regulations state that the cords shouldn’t be longer than 12 inches, but pull toys are still allowed to prolong these to 20 inches.
5. Swat Electric Machine Gun is a realistic replica of a real weapon. Everything would have been fine if it wasn’t designed for five-year old’s and above. This kind of product can easily be mistaken for real weapons and as such shouldn’t be produced at all, let alone for kids.
6. Wooden Instruments manufactured and distributed by Walmart are intended for toddlers. All of the included instruments seem fine, at least, all beside one. 4.5-inch long drumstick is thin enough to be swallowed and cause choking.
7. Bottle Rocket Party is a set of bottle rockets that can be launched as projectiles and as such have a potential to cause serious impact injuries, especially to the eyes and face. Parental supervision is advised and so are protection goggles, but they are nowhere to be found in this set.
8. Lil Cutesies Best Friends Doll looks cute and not at all harmful. However, these dolls come with detachable decorative bow tie which poses a serious choking hazard.
9. True Legends Orcs Battle Hammer is the prime example of manufacturer’s carelessness. Age restriction says 3+, but there are no warnings whatsoever. This hard plastic battle hammer, almost 2-feet long can cause serious blunt-impact injuries. It would have been fine if it was made of sponge, but hard plastic! Come on!
10. Colored Hedgehog manufactured and distributed by Toys R US is intended for infants. It has long, fiber-like hair which can be easily pulled out of the doll and can be ingested or cause aspiration injuries.
The list could go on as there are still plenty of hazardous toys in the market. It is strongly advised to stay away from any toys that have chemical-based components. These toys are manufactured even by leading and renowned toy manufacturers such as Toys R US, Barbie, and Disney. Children’s makeup, face painting sticks, temporary tattoos, nail polish and similar things can be very toxic. Food-based toys are also out of the question as they too contain plenty of toxins and unnatural substances. The bright side of this list is the fact that manufacturers have been known to recall some of the toys. Still, some of them just don’t care and their own profit is more important for them than your children’s safety and well-being. The only way to stop them is to boycott their toys until they learn to respect their customers.