A U.S.-based safety group has released its top 10 “worst toys” ahead of the holiday season, pointing out gifts with the highest risk of choking, injuring eyes and other hazards.
World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) announced its 46th annual list in Boston on Tuesday.
Items include the “Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Superstar Blade,” a “Cabbage Patch Kids Dance Time Doll,” and a US$9.99 “Marvel Black Panther Slash Claw.”
“These rigid, plastic claws, based on a popular comic book and movie character, are sold to five-year-olds to ‘slash’ like the Black Panther, while simultaneously advising not to ‘hit or swing at people,’” W.A.T.C.H. said.
A “Cutting Fruit” toy set for children ages two and older could puncture a child’s skin and cause blunt-force injuries.
A “Zoo Jamz Xylophone,” recommended for kids ages one to four, earned a special caution because the manufacturer provided no warnings regarding the “slender, rigid, approximately nine-inch-long drumstick handle, which can potentially be mouthed and occlude a child’s airway.”
W.A.T.C.H. said online sales are expected to surge 17 to 22 per cent this holiday season, but parents are not able to touch and physically inspect a toy and its packaging for warning signs of obvious hazards before they buy.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries were recorded in the U.S. in 2016. A further 35 children died from toy-related incidents from 2014 to 2016. Statistics in Canada were not readily available.
In a joint statement by industry groups, including the Toy Association, which represents most toy companies in the U.S., senior vice president for the Retail Industry Leaders Association Kathleen McGuigan urged parents to give toys a good look before purchasing.
“Look for and follow safety guidance, heed the age grade listed on toy packaging, and buy from retailers they know and trust. Retailers want all families to have fun and safe holidays.”
The Canadian Children’s Health and Safety Association released this toy safety checklist for parents.