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Beware of Dangerous Toys

December 11, 2008 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan Accident Lawyer Lists 10 Worst Toys

With the holidays comes lots of toys, gifts and cheer. To protect our clients and keep children safe throughout the season, the personal injury lawyers of Michigan Auto Law are providing a list of the “10 Worst Toys.”

The following hazardous toys were chosen by World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.), a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization that educates the public about life-threatening children’s toys and products. According to W.A.T.C.H, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that in 2006, there were at least 22 toy-related deaths to children less than 15 years old, and an estimated 225,500 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

Read on for the “10 Worst Toys.”

1. Animal Alley Purse Pet
Price: $4.98
Manufacturer or Distributor: Geoffrey Inc. /Toys “R” Us
Purchased: Toys “R” Us
Age Recommendation: “0+”
Hazard: Potential for ingestion/aspiration injuries
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This soft, colorful pony is sold for infants. The toy has long, fiber-like hair that is not adequately rooted and is easily removable, presenting the potential for ingestion or aspiration injuries. This hazard is not referenced anywhere on the product or product tags.

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ninja Battle Gear – Michelangelo
Price: $9.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Playmates Toys, Inc.
Purchased: Target
Age Recommendation: “Ages 4 and up”
Hazard: Potential for blunt impact injuries
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! 4-year-old children are encouraged to play the part of a ninja while wielding various weapons. One such weapon is Michelangelo’s “Nunchaku,” which the manufacturer describes as a “kick-butt signature weapon” consisting of two long plastic handles connected by a plastic chain. Remarkably, there are no accompanying cautions or warnings relating to potential impact injuries.

3. Walk’n Sounds Digger the Dog
Price: $9.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Hasbro/ Playskool
Purchased: Kmart
Age Recommendation: “Over 12 months”
Hazard: Potential for strangulation/entanglement injuries
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! Despite the industry’s voluntary standard requiring strings on playpen or crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length, some manufacturers continue to market toys such as this “Digger the Dog” pull toy, with a cord measuring approximately 26 inches. Sold to be “your child’s best friend,” it is intended for “infants” and thus, is a prime candidate for cribs and playpens.

4. Pucci Puppies – My Own Puppy House Golden Retriever
Price: $14.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Battat, Incorporated
Purchased: Target
Age Recommendation: “2 years+”
Hazard: Potential for choking injuries
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! Oral age children as young as 2 years old are encouraged to play with this plush golden retriever puppy, sold with a dog house and accessories including a bone, cookie, chew toy and food bowl. These accessories are small parts that could easily be ingested by a child, presenting the potential for serious choking injuries.

5. Meadow Mystery Play-a-Sound Book with a Cuddly Pooh
Price: $9.97
Manufacturer or Distributor: Disney Enterprises Inc.
Purchased: Walmart
Age Recommendation: “18 months+” (box) and “Recommended for all age groups” (toy)
Hazard: Potential for choking injuries
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This soft Winnie the Pooh doll is packaged and sold with a “Meadow Mystery” book. Pooh’s cloth mask, once removed, poses the potential for choking injuries. Despite the wording on the packaging and the book that the product has been safety tested for children “18 months+,” the tag attached to the plush toy indicates that it is “recommended for all age groups.”

6. Inflatable Giga Ball
Price: $49.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Kenscott Ltd.
Purchased: Target
Age Recommendation: “Ages 4+”
Hazard: Potential for impact and other serious injuries
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! Children as young as 4 years old are encouraged to “crawl inside” this colorful inflatable ball, in order to “spin, tumble, bounce.” The box warns against using the ball on hills or near water and notes that parental supervision is “required.” However, the toy itself indicates that adult supervision is only “recommended” and the package insert further warns the ball is “not for pool side use or as a flotation device.”

7. Spider-Man Adjustable Toy Skates
Price: $19.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Street Flyers, LLC
Purchased: Target
Age Recommendation: “Ages 3 to 6”
Hazard: Potential for wrist and other impact injuries
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! The packaging for these adjustable toy skates has numerous warnings, including the requirement that children wear helmets, wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads while skating. Inexplicably, the safety gear sold with the toy includes only knee and elbow pads.

8. Sportsman Shotgun
Price: $29.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Parris Manufacturing Company
Purchased: Netlink Enterprises, Inc. (Internet)
Age Recommendation: “Not recommended for children under 3 years of age” and “Age 14+”
Hazard: Potential for eye injuries
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! This realistic looking weapon is sold online as a “toy” for use by children. Once the rubber bullets are loaded into the shotgun’s magazine and the ammunition is pushed into the gun’s chamber, “you are now ready to shoot.” This weapon is not a toy and should not be sold for use by children.

9. Extreme Spiral Copters
Price: $3.00
Manufacturer or Distributor: Toysmith Group
Purchased: Belmont Toys
Age Recommendation: “Ages 5 and up”
Hazard: Potential for eye injuries
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! These copters are described by the manufacturer as having “awesome spiral action!” Young children are encouraged to launch the projectile into the air with the provided elastic band, in a fashion similar to a slingshot. Cautions include: “do not substitute the supplied copter with any other projectile,” and “do not aim at eyes or face.”

10. Go Go Minis Pullback Vehicle
Price: $4.99
Manufacturer or Distributor: Kid Galaxy, Inc.
Purchased: Calendar Club Go! Toys & Games
Age Recommendation: “Ages 3+”
Hazard: Potential for choking injuries
W.A.T.C.H. OUT! These miniature fire trucks, garbage trucks and school buses are sold individually at the checkout counter in a display box. The rear tires of these vehicles are removable, presenting the potential for a serious choking injury for oral age children. Incredibly, the “choking hazard” warning appears only on the display box, not on the individual toys.

Although the media and the government have recently increased their focus on toy safety, dangerous toys are not a new issue. The best you can do to protect your family is research toys before you purchase and give them, to ensure they are as safe as possible. Also, keep in mind the countless hazardous toys on retail shelves, and avoid the ones that contain lead and small parts that can be swallowed. In addition to lead poisoning and choking, the wrong toys can present hazards such as strangulation, impact injuries, burns, impalement, puncture wounds and lacerations. For more information on how to protect your family, we at Michigan Auto Law encourage you to visit W.A.T.C.H.

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire State of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights.

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