As Christmas approaches, we always want the kids in our lives to feel joy when they open up their presents. Sure, it may not be what the holiday is about, but that doesn't mean we can't want them to be happy!
It seems kids are getting harder and harder to buy for, and we often want to get the them "coolest" item around, but is it safe?
World Against Toys Causing Harm, or WATCH, is a consumer safety group which rates toys based on their pieces, construction, and other elements. They have been releasing toy safety lists for over four decades and pride themselves on keeping kids safe.
"We don't need a testing lab to know that's a strangulation and entanglement hazard," WATCH president Joan Siff said.
WATCH has released their list for 2017 and are recommending all parents heed their warnings, especially when so much shopping will be done online this year.
1. Hallmark "Itty Bittys" Baby Stacking Toy
WATCH says this toy comes with no age recommendation or warnings, but could lead to choking injuries.
"The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall notice on August 31, 2017 due to “fabric hats and bows that can detach, posing a choking hazard," writes the organization. They noted, however, that these toys are still available to purchase online.
2. Pull-Along Pony
The age recommendation on the toy is "12m+", but it comes with no safety warnings.
"Despite the industry’s standard requiring strings on playpen and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length, manufacturers are still permitted to market “pull toys” such as the “Pull Along Pony” with a cord measuring approximately 19 inches," WATCH says. "No warnings are provided."
3. Wonder-Woman Battle Action Sword
The toy has a rating for ages 6+, and includes "small parts" warnings.
"Young children are encouraged to bear arms, like a popular comic book and movie character, to engage in “[f]ighting alongside men in a war to end all wars,” writes WATCH. "The rigid plastic sword blade has the potential to cause facial or other impact injuries."
4. Fidget Spinners
There are no age recommendations on the spinners, but are branded as "novelty items" and not toys at all.
"Fidget Spinners, like these bright-colored versions, can be found in retail toy aisles," WATCH points out. "These spinners remain popular with children of all ages, and some present potential small parts hazards."
5. Spider-Man Drone
The toy is recommended for kids ages 12+. The warnings include "rotating blades," but WATCH doesn't think that's enough.
"This “official movie edition” remote-control drone, based on the well-known Spiderman Superhero franchise, is sold for use by children. The “performance drone”, designed to launch into the air powered by multiple rotating rotor blades is accompanied by numerous warnings, including the potential for “damage or injury.”"
6. Nerf Zombie Deadbolt Crossbow
The toy is recommended for kids 8+. Consumers are warned not to aim or shoot the weapons at someone's eyes.
"Children as young as 8-years-old are encouraged to load “arrows” into the “deadbolt” crossbow, pull back the “primary pressurized lever” and fire the projectiles in order to “strike back” at “zombies.” The force of the arrow launch presents the potential for eye and facial injuries."
7. Slackers Slackline
The package says it's for ages 5+, while the insert says it's safe for all ages. The warning is for a "strangulation hazard."
"This Slackline is marketed for “all ages” pursuant to a package insert, providing a tightrope-like device intended to be anchored between two trees," WATCH says. "The manufacturer warns of the potential for “severe injury”, including “a strangulation hazard, especially with children.”"
8. Oval Xylophone
There are no warnings on this toy, marketed at kids 12m+.
"This multi-colored musical instrument is sold for babies as young as 12 months old," WATCH claims. "The manufacturer provides no warnings regarding the slender, rigid approximately 9 ½” long drumstick handle, which has the potential to be mouthed and occlude a child’s airway."
9. Jetts Heel Wheels
The shoe accessories are marketed to kids 8+, and the warnings say using them "may result in death."
"Heel Wheels” are marketed to be strapped to heels of children’s shoes so footwear can be transformed into a type of rear-wheel roller skate," says WATCH. "The manufacturer adds “real sparking” action to the “Jetts” with “skid pads”, as evidenced by numerous warnings, including: “Keep sparks away from eyes, hair, exposed skin and clothing. Sparks can burn.”
10. Brianna Baby Doll
These toys are for ages 18+, and have absolutely no warnings on them at all.
"These “huggable, soft” dolls, marketed for babies as young as 18 months old, have “removable clothing.” The pink ponytail holders are also removable, presenting the potential for ingesting and choking."