This year’s “10 Worst Toys” (PDF) announced Monday by consumer watchdog World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) identifies a range of potential dangers in toys sold in stores and online.
Possible security threats highlighted by the group include many offenses that were on previous lists, such as small plastic parts and fiber-like hairs that young children could ingest and choke on, toys that encourage aggressive or violent play which may result in impact injury; and toys sold with unrealistic warnings and instructions.
“Small parts hazards, warnings that cannot be followed in real life, impact injuries. These are not new and one wonders why these toys are still made? WATCH chairman Joan Siff told Al Jazeera.
Adding to the toy safety challenge this year are social distancing restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, which require parents and caregivers to keep children at home and entertain them.
“These are concerns we have every year, but more so this year with schools closed, play dates suspended and athletic activities canceled,” Siff said. “Home is literally the only game in town for millions of children.”
There were approximately 226,100 toy-related injuries in the United States in 2018 – the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. About 70% of these injuries were to children 12 years of age or younger, while 37% were to children five years of age or younger.
WATCH urges parents and caregivers to be vigilant about toy safety, advising them to familiarize themselves with classic red flags and learn to identify hidden dangers.
Another proactive step is inspecting toys and packaging for warning signs before giving them to children.
“When a toy arrives at your doorstep, put it in the packaging, read the warnings, see if you are comfortable with it,” Siff says.
It’s also crucial to examine old toys that are already in a child’s toy box for faults and dangerous designs.
Toys that have been recalled – and found their way online for resale – are another danger parents should be on the lookout for, Siff says.
When a toy arrives at your door, step into the packaging, read the warnings.
The 2020 list
The 10 specific toys that were on this year’s list include Calico Critters Nursery Friends and My Sweet Love Lots to Love Mini Baby Dolls, both of which have been flagged by WATCH for small plastic parts that children could choke on .
The missile launcher and Marvel Avengers Vibranium Power FX Claw aimed at children aged five and up – as well as the Boom City Racers Starter Pack and Star Wars Mandalorian Darksaber, both aimed at children aged four or older – have all were awarded by WATCH. for their potential to cause eye or face injury.
Gloria Owl, a cozy plush toy for babies as young as 12 months old, made the list due to long, fiber-like hair that WATCH says could be “prone to shredding,” which could lead to injury from the hair. ingestion and choking.
WWE Jumbo Superstar Fists intended for children aged three or older have the potential for blunt impact injury, WATCH explains.
Scientific Explorer Sci-Fi Slime, aimed at kids ages 10 and up, landed on the list for its potential to cause chemical-related injuries, according to WATCH, while The Original Boomerang Interactive Stunt UFO for kids ages eight years and older was on the list for its potential to cause propeller-related cuts and injuries.