National Safe Toys and Gifts Month: 10 Worst Toys for 2012

Make your list and check it twice cause that time of year is here again! Santa Claus is coming to town—and hopefully, his sleigh isn’t loaded with any of these potentially hazardous playthings described by World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) as the “10 Worst Toys” for 2012.

December is National Safe Toys and Gifts Month, so if you plan on shopping for anyone under the age of 14, you might want to avoid the urge to splurge on the following not-so-child-friendly purchases. In other words, buyer beware…

Magnetic Fishing Game – $1.77
Potential Hazard: Choking injuries
Age Recommendation: “16 months and up” (online); “Not for children under 3 years” (packaging)

Feedback: While its compact presentation make it an ideal stocking stuffer, the Magnetic Fishing Game contains a 9” cord that could easily end up in a child’s throat. You’re fishing for trouble if you leave your little one unattended with this dangerous find.


Bongo Ball – $49.99
Potential Hazard: Impact and other serious injuries
Age Recommendation: 3 +

Feedback: The Bongo Ball appears to promote a bouncing good time, but the opportunity for disaster is all too likely. Just imagine a child stuffing him/herself into this ball, rolling down a hill or worse—into traffic. Dr. Obvious says not a good pick.


Dart Zone Quick Fire 12 Dart Gun – $19.32
Potential Hazard: Eye injuries
Age Recommendation: “7 months – 5 years” (online); “Ages 6+” (packaging)

Feedback: So much for gun control…this toy teaches children how to load a two-barreled dart gun in seconds. The darts can be fired with enough force to cause eye injuries. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 90 percent of all eye injuries could be prevented. In short: keep an eye out for toys that can poke an eye out.


Spinner Shark 4-Wheel KneeBoard – $59.97
Potential Hazard: Impact injuries
Age Recommendation: 8 and up

Feedback: If you think this product can do damage to your pockets, consider its impact on a child’s knees. We’ve all experienced the agony of a scrape or two in our wonder days, but fast-forward to having children of our own and the nostalgia quickly fades. This “toy” comes with so many warnings, it’s no surprise it made the national W.A.T.C.H. out list. “Do Not ride on sloped or hilly surfaces”; “Do Not ride in streets or in proximity to motor vehicles”…here’s one…how about “Do Not buy?!”


Explore & Learn Helicopter – Approx. retail $9.99 – $15.99
Potential Hazard: Strangulation and entanglement injuries
Age Recommendation: 12-36 months

Feedback: With a cord nearly 24 inches in length, this toy spells d-a-n-g-e-r.
Can’t wrap your mind around how a product like this reached market? Neither can we. According to W.A.T.C.H., industry standards “require strings on playpen and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length.” The Explore & Learn (a.k.a. Investigate & Strangulate) Helicopter has a cord of almost twice that.


N-force Vendetta Double Sword – $19.99
Potential Hazard: Impact injuries
Age Recommendation: Ages 8 +

Feedback: Perhaps, a little boy’s dream, this toy is about as tall as the average eight-year old (4.5 feet). The N-force Vendetta Double Sword comes with two swords that can join together to create an even larger weapon called “Megablade.” So much can go wrong with this one. Think collateral damage and head in the opposite direction.


Water Balloon Launcher – $21.99
Potential Hazard: Choking and facial injuries
Age Recommendation: “8-15 months” (online); “Ages 16 & Up” (packaging)

Feedback: Two words – rapid fire. This water balloon launcher can shoot balloons at speeds of up to 75 mph. Sounds like fun in theory but when a child’s face is disfigured because of an accident with this thing – party over. Based on product warnings, the intensity of the water balloon launcher can cause “severe injury or facial damage.” Has Santa ever been sued for delivering unsafe toys? Things that make you go hmmm…


Power Rangers Super Samurai Shogun Helmet – $29.99
Potential Hazard: Impact and puncture wound injuries
Age Recommendation: 4 +

Feedback: The Power Rangers Super Samurai Shogun Helmet is as crazy as it looks. Those sharp edges scream “stab” and can easily be used like the pointed weapon the helmet appears to be. Little ones like to imitate the behavior they see in cartoons, movies and television shows making the risk of a child suffering puncture wound injuries from the Shogun Helmet uncomfortably high.


Playful Xylophone – $29.99
Potential Hazard: Choking Injuries
Age Recommendation: 12 + months

Feedback: The next Beethoven? Uh, slim chance if one of the Playful Xylophone sticks obstructs your child’s airway. Sticks and stones can break bones but these sticks may lead to choking injuries. The detached 5” drumstick could make its way into a child’s mouth and things would only go downhill from there.


The Avengers Gamma Green Smash Fists – $16.99
Potential Hazard: Blunt Impact Injuries
Age Recommendation: 3 +

Feedback: These mean, green fists can encourage aggression in children. The Avengers Gamma Green Smash Fists are designed to convince users they can turn into the Incredible Hulk by mimicking his superhero strength. Smashing everything in sight is a good way to relieve stress but not the kind of message you want to send to a moody three-year-old.



For information on safe toys, click here.