Black Friday Special: 10 Worst Toys for 2011

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Today’s post comes to us from our colleague Jon Gelman of New Jersey. We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!

A consumer group in Boston, W.A.T.C.H., has published its “10 Worst Toys for 2011” list. The toys nominated represent toys with the potential to cause childhood injuries, or even death. W.A.T.C.H.’s annual “Toy Conference” has generated extensive national press and media coverage. Because of these efforts, and the positive response from both the media and the public, there have been many toy and product design changes.

 

Twist ‘n Sort

1. TWIST ‘n SORT

Price: $13.35
Manufacturer or Distributor: Guidecraft, Inc.
Purchased: WonderBrains.com
Age Recommendation: “Ages 3+”
Warnings: “WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD – Small parts.  Not for children under 3 yrs.”

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR CHOKING INJURIES!
This play set consisting of a “brightly colored geometric block and solid wood base” is sold to provide “years of developmental fun” with “problem solving challenges” and “fine motor practice.” On October 20, 2011, certain lots of these toys were recalled because “[t]he small pegs on three of the four posts can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children”. After issuance of the recall, a newly purchased Twist ‘n Sort toy exhibited the same “choking hazard” identified in the government’s recall notice.

 

Power Rangers Samurai Mega Blade

2. POWER RANGERS SAMURAI MEGA BLADE
Price:  $26.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Bandai
Purchased: Toys R Us (also available Kmart.com and Walmart.com)
Age Recommendation: “4+” and “Ages 4 and up”
Warnings: Package insert:  “CAUTION: PLEASE READ BEFORE PLAYING WITH TOY.
Do not: (1) aim toy at anyone, (2) hit anyone with toy, (3) poke anyone with toy, (4) swing toy at anyone….”; and  other cautions and warnings.

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR IMPACT INJURIES!
Young children are encouraged to pull a release and flip-open this rigid plastic Power Rangers Samurai “sword”, which “extends 2 feet!” according to the packaging. The blade has the potential to cause serious facial or other impact injuries.

 

Fold & Go Trampoline

3. FOLD & GO TRAMPOLINE

Price:  $99.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: The Original Toy Company
Purchased: Stellabella Toys (also available Sears.com)
Age Recommendation: “ages 3+ YEARS”

Warnings: “WARNING:  CHOKING HAZARD – Small parts.  Not for children under 3 years”, and other safety information including: “Misuse and abuse of this trampoline is dangerous and can cause injuries.”

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR HEAD, NECK AND OTHER BODILY INJURIES!
This trampoline is sold in the toy aisle for children as young as 3-years-old. Remarkably, the package insert instructs, in part, as follows:

“Never attempt any other functions or gymnastic functions or rough play on the trampoline, this trampoline is designed for young children ONLY. The only function on this trampoline should be a controlled bounce (exercise), for young children. No other functions should occur other then [sic] controlled bounce.” The many hazards associated with trampoline use should make it apparent to manufacturers and retailers that such equipment should not be sold as a playtime activity for young children.

 

Pulling Animal Duck

4. PULLING ANIMAL DUCK
Price:  $29.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Haba
Purchased: Creatoyvity
Age Recommendation: “Age 1+”
Warnings: “WARNING:  Do not make a knot or grip in the string.” (stick-on label on box only).

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR STRANGULATION INJURIES!
This wooden duck, which “[w]addles amusingly when pulled”, is sold as a pull toy for 1-year-old babies. The duck’s cord is approximately 33” long, presenting a serious potential strangulation  hazard. The industry’s standard limits strings on crib and playpen toys to 12” in length.

 

School Bus

5. SCHOOL BUS
Price:  $4.00
Manufacturer or Distributor: Schylling
Purchased: Toy Shop of Concord (also available online retailers)
Age Recommendation: “Not for children under 3 years.” (stick-on label only).
Warnings: “WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD – Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.” (stick-on  label only).

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR CHOKING INJURIES!
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.

 

Z-Curve Bow

6. Z-CURVE BOW
Price:  $25.05
Manufacturer or Distributor: Zing Toys, Inc.
Purchased: Amazon.com
Age Recommendation: “DESIGNED FOR KIDS 8+”
Warnings: “WARNING:  Do not aim at eyes or face.  Do not aim or shoot at people or animals”; “WARNING:  Arrows should not be pulled back at more than half strength… Anyone within close distance to intended target should be alerted prior to firing….”; and other warnings on packaging.

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE INJURIES!
This “high-performance” bow and arrow set is sold with three “long-range”foam arrows, which are marketed as being able to fly “over 125 FEET!” Remarkably, among the many “warnings” for children is an instruction that arrows not be pulled back “more than half strength”, and that people nearby “should be alerted” prior to firing.

 

Stepper “Low Rise” Stilts

7. STEPPER “LOW RISE” STILTS
Price:  $10.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: JJI Toys
Purchased: Ben Franklin
Age Recommendation: “Ages 5 and up”
Warnings: None.

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR HEAD AND OTHER IMPACT INJURIES!
These colorful plastic platforms with attached, adjustable “hand ropes” are sold as  “perfect ‘low rise’ stilts.” The manufacturer provides no warnings or cautions. The instruction on the  throw-away tag invites children, as young as five years old, to “[j]ust step on the platform, pull the ropes up  tight, and begin to walk around” while balancing on top of the cups.

 

Sword Fighting Jack Sparrow

8. SWORD FIGHTING JACK SPARROW
Price:  $15.98
Manufacturer or Distributor: Jakks Pacific
Purchased: Toys R Us
Age Recommendation: “4+”
Warnings: “WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD – Small parts. Not for children under 3 years” (on box).

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR EYE AND OTHER IMPACT INJURIES!
The Jack Sparrow action figure, from the popular Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, is sold for children as young as four years old. The pirate’s right hand is armed with a 4 ½”-long rigid, plastic sword, which activates in an upward motion at the push of a lever. No warnings are provided regarding the potential for eye or other impact injuries.

 

The Incredible Shrinky Dinks Maker

9. THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKY DINKS MAKER
Price:  $29.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Big Time Toys, LLC
Purchased: Kmart
Age Recommendation: “Ages 8+”
Warnings: “CAUTION:  ELECTRIC TOY” and many more warnings on package, package insert and  product.

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR ELECTRIC SHOCK AND BURN INJURIES!
This oven uses standard 120-volt house current and shrinks a “shrinky dink” in a “heating chamber” with a 60-watt light bulb. A parent or caregiver needs no further indication that this oven could be dangerous than the litany of warnings and cautions on the toy itself and the packaging, including:

  • “CAUTION-ELECTRIC TOY: As with all electric products, precautions shall be observed…to prevent electric shock.”
  • “WARNING: SHOCK HAZARD. Pull plug before changing light bulb.”
  • “DANGER – To prevent electric shock, do not immerse in water….”
  • “CAUTION – SUPERVISION REQUIRED – ELECTRIC TOY- UNPLUG WHEN NOT IN USE.”

A product with so many inherent hazards does not lend itself to use in a home environment with children.

 

“Gigan” Godzilla Figure

10. “GIGAN” GODZILLA FIGURE
Price:  $22.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Bandai
Purchased: Toys R US
Age Recommendation: “4+”
Warnings: “WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD – Small parts.  Not for children under 3 years.”

HAZARD: POTENTIAL FOR IMPACT AND PUNCTURE WOUND INJURIES!
This “12[-inch] Classic Godzilla Figure”, referenced on the packaging as the character “Gigan”, features rigid, pointed fins and wings, as well as sharp, dagger-like attachments on its arms. Such unforgiving, plastic protrusions present the potential for penetrating and impact injuries.

 

 

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman in New Jersey have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses. Jon is a prolific author, public speaker and educator on the topic of workers’ compensation law.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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