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2008 “10 Worst Toys” Highlight Key Products Liability Issues

A non-profit group, World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH), has released its annual list of toys that parents should be wary of. These toys are most likely to cause injuries to children and minors. The toys that made the 2008 worst list include:

1) Sportsman Shotgun. Groups allege that this toy looks too much like a real gun and should in fact not be retailed as a toy at all. Children can load rubber bullets into the gun’s magazine and shoot them out. Experts claim that this poses a risk for eye injuries and other injuries as well. Shots fired at close range can be painful and dangerous.

2) Go Go Minis Pullback Vehicle. This toy is essentially a mini truck. The back tires on the garbage truck, fire truck, and school bus models are removable, however, and the small tires, once removed, pose a choking hazard. There is a “choking hazard” warning message, but this warning appears on the box only, not on the trucks.

3) Inflatable Giga Ball. This toy is inflatable ball into which children are allowed to crawl. The package of the toy indicates that parental supervision is required and indicates that the toy should not be used in the water or on hills. However, the warning message on the toy itself has no warnings other than a “recommendation” for parental supervision. Experts claim that the toy poses impact and other serious injuries.

4) Animal Alley Purse Set. These animal plush toys are marketed for infants. The pony toy from this brand has a mane and tail that can easily be removed and can pose a choking risk or ingestion risk when it is removed. Neither the toy nor the packaging warns parents of this risk.

5) Spider-Man Adjustable Toy Skates. These toy skates are marketed for children between the ages of 3 and 6. The packaging of the toys recommends that children using the skates wear knee pads, helmets, wrist guards, as well as elbow pads while using the skates. However, the product only comes with knee and elbow pads. Experts suggest that the toy could cause serious injuries.

6) Pucci Puppies – My Own Puppy House Golden Retriever. This toy is a golden retriever toy puppy that comes with a variety of accessories, including a cookies, bone, chew toy, dog house, and food bowl. The accessories are small and pose a choking hazard.

7) Walk’n Sounds Digger The Dog. This toy is created for infants, but while the toy industry requires that playpen or crib toys have strings no longer than 12 inches, this toy has a cord of 26 inches. Even though it is not marketed as a playpen or crib toy, the fact that it is marketed for a very young age group indicates that it probably would be used in cribs or playpens. Children using this toy in playpens or cribs are at risk of strangulation or entanglement.

8) Meadow Mystery Play-A-Sound Book With A Cuddly Pooh. This toy is a book sold with a soft Winnie-the-Pooh doll. The doll has a removable cloth mask which poses a choking hazard if removed from the doll. The packaging claims that the toy is safe for children “18 months+,” but toy on the doll claims the toy is appropriate “for all age groups.”
9) Extreme Spiral Copters. This toy involves a copter projectile that can be launched into the air with an elastic band, much like a sling shot. The toy is marketed for children “Ages 5 and Up” and the packaging materials warn that children should not use any other projectile with the elastic band and should not aim the projectile at face or eyes. However, experts note that enforcing this rule with children is difficult without constant supervision. The toy can easily be used in an inappropriate manner by a child and cause eye injuries and other injuries.

10) Ninja Battle Gear – Michelangelo. This toy includes a “Nunchaku” weapon, which involves two plastic weapons linked by a plastic weapon. Children who are 4 years of age or older are encouraged to use this weapon in play. No warnings on the toy or packaging suggest the potential for impact injuries that this product causes.

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