By: LISA R. WILSON
With over 10 million units of toys recalled in the United States in 2007, one could assume that most children today will not reach adolescence without having been hurt, poisoned or maimed by a defective toy. Lead-containing parts, razor-sharp plastics, small, choke-inducing gadgets—these materials sound like weapons used in a Turkish prison, let alone found in a child’s toy box.
The following list comprises the 10 most dangerous recalled toys of the last 30 years. Keep in mind that these are defective playthings that were actually found, flagged and pulled. Hence, it is not improbable that these recalled toys have sadistic kin that are still sitting on shelves today, waiting to inflict harm on the next, unsuspecting tyke.
Produced by the Spin Master Corporation, Aqua Dots were small, colorful beads that were part of a multidimensional design craft kit. However, the chemical compound of these beads included the then unknown "date rape" drug gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB). Children who licked and ingested Aqua Dots were taken on a 1960’s-inspired haze—and subsequently became subject to respiratory depression, seizures and coma-like symptoms. One child was reportedly hospitalized for five days after swallowing an Aqua Dot. Bad trip, man. Spin Master Corporation recalled 4.2 million units and suspended the toy from the market in November 2007.
Mini hammocks from EZ Sales
After 12 confirmed fatalities by asphyxiation (of children aged 5-17) and numerous reports of near-death entrapments, these nylon mini hammocks came to be known as “death cocoons.” The culprit behind the flawed design was the lack of spreader bars at either end, which failed to keep the hammock open when children were swinging and/or resting in them; subsequently tying kids up like a Christmas goose. EZ Sales recalled nearly 3 million of these products and suspended sales indefinitely in August 1996.
Fisher-Price Power Wheels Motorcycle
These very real motorbikes looked like a shiny motorized toy, but in fact were quite dangerous machines. On certain models, the accelerator jammed and became stuck, taking baby bikers on a hellish, uncontrollable ride, leading to accident-inflicted injuries such as lacerations, sprains and broken bones. Fisher-Price recalled 218,000 Power Wheels motorcycles and took the “toy” off in the market in August 2000.
Sky Dancers Flying Dolls
Barbie is flying, and she is out for revenge. These 9-inch hard plastic dolls came equipped with wing-shaped helicopter arms and were designed to fly but lacked reliable controls, thus launching with incredible speed in unpredictable directions. After 150 reported injuries, including temporary blindness, broken ribs and teeth, mild concussions and lacerations, almost 9 million units were recalled by manufacturer Galoob Toys and all sales suspended in June 2000.
Easy-Bake Oven by Hasbro
Easy-Bake toy ovens have been around since the 1950’s, but this Hasbro model had a clear defect: the front-loading oven would trap tiny hands that were reaching inside of it—inflicting some 77 second- and third-degree burns to the hands and fingers of future homemakers of America, including one 5-year-old girl who required a partial finger amputation. Hasbro recalled the oven and stopped distribution in July 2007.
Jarts and other versions of lawn darts
Jarts (a variable of lawn darts) were heavy, metal projectiles that sharply pierced whatever they struck —including many children. Lawn darts were responsible for 6,700 injuries and four deaths in the 1980’s and were permanently banned (in all varieties) in 1988.
Snacktime Cabbage Patch Dolls by Mattel
Snacktime, indeed. These models from the widely sought-after Cabbage Patch line of the 1980’s and 90’s had automated jaws that would “chew” whatever was placed in its mouth. The problem: the doll didn’t stop chewing. After 35 tiny fingers were reportedly injured by the chomping doll, and handfuls of chewed up ponytail hair later, Mattel removed the dolls from retail shelves in 1997 (although never formally “recalling” the product), and offered 500,000 customers a full refund.
Battlestar Galactica Missile Launcher
In 1978, Mattel launched a series of Battlestar Galactica toy missile launchers known individually as the Viper, the Cylon Raider, the Scarab and the Stellar Probe. In 1979, a child reportedly died after choking on one of the missile launchers—prompting Mattel to recall all BSG models and suspend production.
The Chicken Limbo Party Game
With a name like “The Chicken Limbo Party Game,” it has to be good. However, this resort-inspired concoction lacked sturdy support poles, therefore with the slightest touch, the entire apparatus could shake and collapse on participating children (and any bystanders). After 46 reports of the game collapsing and causing subsequent injuries such as bumps, bruises, welts, chipped teeth, and one fractured foot, Milton Bradley recalled 461,000 CLP units and suspended all sales in 2006.
There is a reason why this product was not called “Softers.” Clackers, which were marketed under a multitude of other names, consisted of two glass-like acrylic balls, each about the size of plum, which swung on either end of a string. The idea was to tug on the middle of the string until the balls swung faster and faster, smacking each other above and below your hand until the motion formed a stunning arc. However, being made of glass, the balls were heavy—leading to numerous reports of injury when they smacked into children’s faces, and when the balls themselves occasionally shattered, causing lacerations. Clackers were pulled from the shelves in 1971 and, later that year, a mandate was issued that any future product(s) be made with foam balls and nylon cords.
With toys like these on the market, traditional you’ll-poke-your-eye-out playthings such as BB guns and slingshots may just prove to be the safest choice. Good luck.
If your child, or yourself, has been injured by a defective toy and/or other defective product, a qualified products liability attorney can help protect your legal rights and fight for the compensation to which you are entitled. To find a LawInfo products liability attorney in your area, click here.
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