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10 toys to avoid this holiday season

As holiday shopping continues, consumer advocacy group WATCH (World Against Toys Causing Harm) has released its annual list of the 10 worst toys for children. Among the list are “toy” weapons, including a Power Rangers “Samurai Mega Blade and “Zing Toys Z-Curve Bow.”  The samurai blade extends a full two feet and includes the following warning:  “Do not: (1) aim toy at anyone, (2) hit anyone with toy, (3) poke anyone with toy, (4) swing toy at anyone…”  Essentially, do none of the things children expect to do with a toy sword.  The age recommendation is four years and older; it’s hard to imagine children of any age adhering to these instructions.  WATCH warns that the blade can cause “serious facial or other impact injuries.”

The “Z-Curve Bow” is a foam bow and arrow set that claims to be able to fly over 125 feet.  The label warns kids to alert people close to a target before firing, but it’s doubtful that children would actually trek 125 feet to see who may be near a target.  WATCH also took issue with a warning that tells users to not pull arrows back at more than half strength–an instruction that children may not even understand, let alone comply with.

Absurd instructions seemed to be a theme among the toys.   A “Fold & Go Trampoline” sternly warns consumers that the product should only be used for “controlled bouncing.”   The portable trampoline is recommended for children ages three and up; as one reporter put it, “what segment of the population is better at controlled bouncing than 3-year-olds?”

Also making the list was a “Sword Fighting Jack Sparrow” figurine complete with a rigid, four inch plastic sword.  WATCH warned that the sword could cause eye and other impact injuries.  Meanwhile, toy school buses with removable tires pose a choking hazard, and a wooden duck intended for one year olds contains a 33 inch cord that far exceeds the industry’s 12 inch standard limit.

The Toy Industry Association dismissed the list, claiming that such reports “needlessly frighten parents.”  But toy injuries are nothing to scoff at–the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that toy injuries sent 250,000 children to ERs in 2009 alone.

To see the full list of toys, visit WATCH’s website.

Entry Filed under: Products Liability

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