Nonprofit group World Against Toys Causing Harm, or W.A.T.C.H., recently put out a press release that lists what it considers to be the 10 worst toys of 2015 as part of its greater commitment "to raising awareness about unsafe children’s products." The toys on this list run the gamut from pull toys for infants to realistic toy guns for the older set.
Toy safety is very important, of course, but it's worth noting that for most parents, the dangers cited for the toys on this list are frankly a bit of a stretch. That's to be expected; the group's sole purpose, after all, is to suss out potential danger in playthings. Take a look, and decide for yourself if these toys pose a risk or not.
This toy is a pull toy for babies 6 months or older, and W.A.T.C.H. warns that some of the toy's lots were pulled over the summer due to the wheels coming off and posing a choking hazard, but the group claims that when it purchased the toy online after the recall, it "exhibited the same potential for the 'choking hazard' identified in the government’s recall notice."
This toy, made by a Chinese manufacturer, lists "realistic toy weaponry" as its hazard on the press release. The group's concern is that when toys are designed to look just like the real thing, there's a greater risk of children injuring themselves with a real gun when they assume it is a toy.
Ah, the old trampoline nut. It's true that trampolines can be dangerous despite the fact that they've certainly become much safer in recent years with spring-guard and springless options. This particular toy is a small trampoline, much like the ones you might use for exercising. W.A.T.C.H. warns that no trampoline is safe, saying: "The many hazards associated with trampoline use should make it apparent to manufacturers and retailers that such equipment should not be sold as a playtime activity for young children."
Like lots of other molding dough for kids, including Play-Doh, this item has wheat products in it, which pose a risk to individuals with wheat allergies.
This is a slingshot-type toy, and like all slingshots, it includes warnings about eye injuries and cautions kids to not aim the projectiles at people or animals.
The Kick Flipper is admittedly a perplexing toy. It's essentially a skateboard without wheels, which is exactly what the marketing copy for the toy calls it. Basically it's just a piece of plastic your kids can try out tricks on before they graduate to a skateboard. The main complaint W.A.T.C.H. has with the item is that it doesn't include warnings about safety gear, and the packaging shows a child playing with it sans helmet and pads.
W.A.T.C.H. warns that this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles merchandise has "potential for blunt force injuries!" Of course, it's worth mentioning that if you buy your child a toy sword, chances are high that they will whack themselves or someone else with it. Also, if you have more than one child, you already know that any toy, even a soft, plush baby doll, has the potential for blunt force injuries when wielded by an angry sibling.
This imaginative play doctor kit is marketed to kids 2 years old and over and does include a small, slim tongue depressor and no warnings. We're inclined to agree with the worries over this one — definitely a choking hazard and definitely not suitable for kids that young.
This is another pull-along toy, but in this case the hazard is strangulation. The cord on the zebra is 21 inches long, and the manufacturers warn that the toy, marketed as suitable for 12- to 36-month-old babies, should not be used without supervision.
These claws are designed to go on your hands so you can stalk your prey with a little more realism, and they do include a choking hazard warning, but the group's concern is that they can cause "eye and facial injuries" because they're "sold to enable 4-year-olds to 'claw like a raptor!'" So if you get them, keep an eye on your child, and make sure they don't go into a blood frenzy.
It's up to you to decide what toys your kids will get this year, and in all seriousness, safety should be a part of that decision. Most of the toys on this list just reinforce what parents should already know: Use common sense and your best judgment.
Every toy has a potential danger if you try hard enough to find it, so it really comes down to knowing your child and keeping an eye out for the toys you know they can use safely.
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