by Tim O’Hare
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Black Friday is just around the corner. As you prepare to begin your holiday shopping (or for you early starters, to continue your holiday shopping) there may be some items for your kids you want to leave off your list this year.
Each year, the advocacy group World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) issues a list of the most dangerous toys. Here are the toys that made the 2014 W.A.T.C.H. list.
1. Air Storm Firetek Bow — According to W.A.T.C.H., young children may not understand or be able to heed the manufacturer’s warning not to aim the arrows at people or animals.
2. Radio Flyer Ziggle — The “Twist and Wiggle” toy by the ever-popular Radio Flyer should be worn with a helmet at all times — and even the safety warning recommends a helmet and other safety gear. However, the child pictured on the box of this toy is not wearing any protective gear. W.A.T.C.H. also warns that because this toy is low to the ground, children riding the toy could be more likely to be hit by a car.
3. Toysmith Catapencil — According to W.A.T.C.H., “Children of all ages, while being advised to ‘play safe and enjoy,’ are also encouraged to use a pencil-turned-catapult for ‘target practice for your desktop!’ Sharpened pencils should not be marketed as playthings, much less a miniature slingshot-style launcher.”
4. Alphabet Zoo Rock & Stack Pull Toy — Industry standard states that toys should have no longer than a 12-inch string. The string on this toy for infants and toddlers is 20-inches long, posing a strangulation hazard to children.
5. Junxing Toys Industrial SWAT Machine Gun — According to W.A.T.C.H., realistic replicas of dangerous weapons should never be available to children. “In today’s world, there is no excuse for outfitting children with realistic toy weapons designed to produce potentially dangerous and unnecessary thrills,” says W.A.T.C.H.. “Detailed replicas have resulted in a number of deaths through the years and should never be sold as toys.”
6. Spark. Create. Imagine. Wooden Instruments — There are no warnings on the packaging of this toy instrument set that includes a wooden drumstick that poses a choking hazard to young children.
7. Science Wiz Bottle Rocket Party — Labeled for children as young as eight, W.A.T.C.H. advises the bottle rockets pose injury risk to the eyes, face, and other body parts. While it comes with yellow caution tape, safety goggles are not included.
8. JC Toys Lol’ Cutesies Best Friends — Marketed for children as young as two, these dolls come with “a decorative bow made of ribbon which can detach from the head of the baby doll, posing the potential for choking if ingested,” says W.A.T.C.H..
9. True Legends Orcs Battle Hammer — A hard plastic hammer labeled for kids three and older measures almost two feed in length. Not only does this toy come without any warnings or cautions, a hard hammer toy could cause blunt impact injuries to children, according to W.A.T.C.H..
10. The Colored Hedgehog — Sold for infants, this stuffed toy has long hair that is not “adequately rooted,” and young children could easily remove and consume the hair, according to W.A.T.C.H..
Please note that none of the toys listed above have been recalled at this time. This list is simply a warning to parents about potentially dangerous toys.
When shopping for your children this holiday season, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) recommends W.A.T.C.H.ing out for toys with these potential hazards:
• Choking – The most common cause of toy-related deaths is choking. Do not buy toys with small parts for children under three. If a toy or toy part can pass through a toilet paper tube, it is too small for a child under three. Small balls and balloons also pose significant hazard to small children. Balls for children under six years of age must be 1.75 inches in diameter. Latex balls and balloons should never be given to children under 8 years old.
• Magnets – Several toys, including building toys, darts and toy jewelry use small, powerful magnets. If swallowed, these magnets can attract each other in the body, causing life-threatening complications. If a child swallows a magnet, seek immediate medical attention.
• Strangulation – Toys and clothes with cords or drawstrings are a strangulation hazard for children. Infant crib mobiles should be removed from the crib before the baby is 5 months old or can push him/herself up. Knobs or beads at the end of cords longer than one foot should be removed. Drawstrings on clothing can get caught in objects, such as playground equipment, potentially strangling a child.
• Toxic chemicals – Toys containing lead and other toxic chemicals should be avoided. Toys made of PVC plastic may contain toxic phthalates, which pose developmental hazards to children. Lead may also be found in painted toys, vinyl toys and even costume jewelry. A home lead tester, found at a hardware store, can be used to test toys for lead. Avoid products containing xylene, toluene or dibutyl phthalate.
If you think a toy or product is hazardous, report it to the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.saferproducts.gov.
Parents can check toy recalls at www.recalls.gov.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a dangerous product, contact the experienced legal team at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare. We will help you receive all due compensation for your injury or loss.
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