World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.), released Tuesday its list of the 10 Worst Toys for the 2016 holidays at a news conference at Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Brighton. Based in Boston, the group has been listing its dangerous toys since 1973 as an attempt to warn parents and caregivers about the threats some toys pose to their kids due to inconsistent warnings or omissions by advertisers.
The toys making up the list are not necessarily the most dangerous in the market, but their marketing strategy does not match the risks children are exposed to when playing with them. Some of these products’ communications are the perfect examples of several safety regulatory concerns.
WATCH said in a press release that the listed toys have the potential to cause “serious injury and even death” mainly due to poor design, manufacturing and marketing strategies, according to a report by NBC News. Toys sold during holiday shopping account for as much as 65 percent of annual toys sales, which leads the group to urge parents and caregivers to be careful when purchasing these products by making sure they are fully informed about the potential dangers they may represent to their children’s health.
Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles Family is one of the items making up the top 10 of the worst toys as it omits warning about choking hazards for kids aged two. Even though they contain the same product, some packages appear to be intended for three-year-old children while others say they have been designed for two-years-old.
Kids playing with Baby Magic Feed and Play Baby are also at risk. The product has a 2+ age recommendation, but it comes with a spoon that could end up blocking a child’s airway.
A federal safety act bans pillows for children under one. Still, the advertising image of the Kids Time Baby Children’s Elephant Pillow features an infant snuggling with the pillow, and the item comes in a package without age warnings. The picture is so beautiful and heart-melting that most parents could forget to think about the safety of their child while having that cute pillow around.
Other toys included in the list increase the risk of eye injury. The Slimeball Slinger includes projectiles that can be fired over 30 feet and have the potential to poke a child’s eye out. Flying Heroes Superman Launcher’s spinning flying figure could also cause harm by flying into a kid’s eye or face, and the Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch has a rigid tail that could puncture the little faces.
Six-year-old children playing with the Warcraft Doomhammer are encouraged to “feel the power of the horde!” while having fun with the toy inspired in the Warcraft movie. Because the heavy battle hammer is made of rigid plastic, it has the potential to cause impact injuries, WATCH said. It is on the list given that the manufacturers omit important warnings about the risk it represents to kids having too much fun with the toy.
Moreover, the advertising image of Nerf Rival Apollo Xv-700 Blaster features kids wearing masks that cover their face and eyes, but they are not included in the toy’s package. Parents and caregivers must buy them separately. The advertising picture of Banzai Bump N’ Bounce Body Bumpers is even worse as it shows children bumping into each other without even wearing any of the protective items the manufacturer specifies in small print on the package.
WATCH encourages parents to be fully informed before buying any toy for their children
We have gone through a bunch of several injuries these toys could cause to children, but there is one more… and it is horrifying. Peppy Pups contain a cord that measures about 31 inches, meaning that it significantly increases the risk of strangulation. WATCH said that the industry’s standard requires strings on playpen and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length, NBC News reported.
“Our hope for the future is that no dangerous toys will be found on toy store shelves. But until that happens, if parents walk into stores armed with knowledge of hazards that have happened in the past, then they can have a happier holiday season,” WATCH’s president Joan Stiff said Tuesday, as quoted by CBS Boston.
The toy industry claims WATCH is freaking out parents without reason
Representatives of the U.S. toy industry claimed the consumer watchdog group is needlessly raising alarms by arguing the products included on its list could suffocate children, lead to puncture wounds or cause a toddler to choke, according to a report by CBS Boston. Toy manufacturers who make up the list pointed out that their products have not been recalled and are not being tested for any safety issue.
Steve Pasierb, CEO of The Toy Industry Association, said in a statement that toy community remains committed to ensuring global children safety by creating products that bring them joy and learning, NBC News reported. Pasierb noted that the federal government highly regulates all toys sold in the country all year round and added that every item must meet over 100 safety requirements.
Also from The Toy Industry Association, Rebecca Mond highlighted the fact that toys produced in the U.S. are among the safest worldwide.
“The United States is the global leader when it comes to toy safety efforts. But certainly, parents can be assured that toys, no matter where they’re manufactured, need to comply with very strict U.S. product safety requirements,” Mond stated, as reported by CBS Boston.
Source: NBC News