2019’s – 10 Worst Toys by W.A.T.C.H
One Child Is Treated In U.S. Emergency Rooms Every Three Minutes For A Toy-Related Injury
(Boston, MA–Nov. 19, 2019) World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) today revealed its nominees for the “10 Worst Toys of 2019” and demonstrated why the “Nerf Ultra One,” “Pogo Trick Board,” and other potentially hazardous toys should not be in the hands of children. Although intended for fun and entertainment, many toys contain hidden hazards unnecessarily putting children at risk of injury or death. W.A.T.C.H. addressed the types of toy hazards available online, as well as in retail stores, so parents and caregivers know what traps to avoid when buying toys—especially in the upcoming 2019 holiday shopping season.
At this year’s press conference at Franciscan Children’s in Boston, Consumer Advocates Joan Siff, President of W.A.T.C.H., and James Swartz, Director of W.A.T.C.H., illustrated some of the classic safety hazards that continue to re-appear year after year. These traps included poorly designed toys as well as inconsistent and inadequate warnings, cautions and age recommendations. Highlighted at this year’s conference, among other safety concerns, were projectile toys that could fire with enough force to potentially cause eye injuries and toys that encourage children to jump or ride with the potential for head injuries. Some of these toys are sold without the proper safety gear or marketed with inconsistent safety messages. Swartz and Siff also discussed the impact of online purchasing on toy safety, up-to-date information about toy recalls and the necessity for more stringent oversight of the toy industry. Unfortunately, there have been many deaths, disfigurements and disabilities inflicted upon children as a result of poorly designed and tested toys. One reason the message today is so urgent: Many toy-related injuries are preventable.
For over four decades, W.A.T.C.H. has tackled the issue of dangerous toys in the hope of bringing about change and reducing injuries to children. Nonetheless, dangerous toys remain on store shelves, in catalogues, and on e-tailers’ websites. Shockingly, classic toy dangers, such as small parts, strings, projectiles, toxic substances, rigid materials, and inaccurate warnings and labels, continue to be manufactured by the toy industry in newly designed packaging.
TOY 1: NERF ULTRA ONE
Manufacturer or Distributor: Hasbro
Retailer(s): Target.com, Walmart.com, Hasbro.com
Age Recommendation: “AGES 8+”
Warnings: “CAUTION: Do not aim at eyes or face. TO AVOID INJURY: Use only with official NERF darts….”, and other cautions/warnings.
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR INGESTION AND BATTERY-RELATED INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! These soft, plush “Pillow Pets Sleeptime Lites” project colorful night-sky images to make “night-time fun”. Marketed for infants as a nightlight for baby’s room, remarkably the package cautions that the product is “not intended” for use in a crib. Nella is adorned with small, felt-like flower and heart-tag accessories which, if removed, present potential ingestion hazards. Additionally, the manufacturer identifies a “battery acid leakage” hazard.
Manufacturer or Distributor: Learning Resources, Inc.
Retailer(s): Magic Beans, Kohls.com, Amazon.com, eBay.com, Target.com, Walmart.com
Age Recommendation: “18+ Months”
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR INGESTION AND CHOKING INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This “hedgehog”, sold for oral-age children as young as 18 months old, comes with twelve removable, rigid-plastic “quills” measuring approximately 3 ½ inches long. The quills can potentially be mouthed and occlude a child’s airway.
TOY 3: BUNCHEMS BUNCH’N BUILD
Manufacturer or Distributor: Spin Master LTD.
Retailer(s): Amazon.com, Michael’s, Michaels.com, Walmart.com, Nordstromrack.com, Lightinthebox.com
Age Recommendation: “4+”
Warnings: “CAUTION: Keep away from hair. May become entangled. Keep away from pets”; “WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD—Small parts. Not intended for children under 3 years”; and other warnings/cautions on package and package inserts.
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR HAIR ENTANGLEMENT AND CHOKING!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! “Bunchems” are multi-colored activity balls that are meant to stick together when children engage in building activities. There have been report of the plastic, connective toys becoming ensnared in children’s hair. The manufacturer itself provides numerous warnings related to this hazard, including a large, bright orange box insert stating in part: “CAUTION: KEEP AWAY FROM HAIR. During play, tie hair back to avoid entanglement. Keep away from pets.…”
TOY 4: YETI
Manufacturer or Distributor: Douglas Company, Inc.
Retailer(s): Wellesley Toy Shop, Target.com, eBay.com, Walmart.com, Douglascuddletoy.com, Amazon.com
Age Recommendation: “For 24 Months & Up” (throw-away tag only).
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR INGESTION/ASPIRATION INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This soft, ape-like “Yeti” creature is sold for oral-age children. The “cuddle” toy has long, fiber-like hair that may not be adequately rooted, such that pulling with minimum effort could lead to removal. Once separated from the toy, the hair presents the potential for ingestion or aspiration injuries. This hazard is not referenced anywhere on the product or product tags.
TOY 7: DIECAST SCHOOL BUS
Manufacturer or Distributor: Schylling
Retailer(s): Magic Beans
Age Recommendation: “Ages 3+”
Warnings: “WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD – Small parts. Not for children under 3 years” (removable sticker only).
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR CHOKING INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! These miniature yellow school buses are sold with a “choking hazard” warning on a removable, stick-on label. The firm rubber tires, mounted on plastic wheels, can be removed, presenting the potential for a serious choking injury for oral age children.
TOY 9: POWER RANGERS ELECTRONIC CHEETAH CLAW
Manufacturer or Distributor: Hasbro
Retailer(s): Target, Target.com, Amazon.com, Hasbrotoyshop.com, Bestbuy.com, Walmart.com, Galactictoys.com, Toywiz.com
Age Recommendation: “Age 5+”
Warnings: “CAUTION: Do not hit or swing at people or animals. Use away from breakable objects”, and small parts warning.
HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE AND FACIAL INJURIES!
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! The Power Rangers “BEAST Morphers” claws are made of rigid plastic. Five-year-olds are encouraged to use the “strength of the CHEETAH CLAW” to “take on…enemies!” The manufacturer simultaneously advises children not to “hit or swing at people.…”