If you’re Christmas list includes children, you’ve no doubt run across some very strange toys — and some potentially dangerous ones, too. Following are 10 bad gift ideas for children, some of which fall into the “what were they thinking?” category.
1. The Avengers Gamma Green Smash Fists
W.A.T.C.H. lists these giant fists on its 2012 “10 Worst Toys” List, calling it a hazard for its potential for blunt impact injuries. The organization says the packaging contains no warnings or cautions. It is marketed to children ages three and up and toymaker Hasbro’s product description reads, “When you put these green hands of power on your own hands, it will be that much easier to imagine yourself smashing everything that gets in your way!”
If you’re promoting a set of giant hulk fists to children, it’s fair to assume they’ll be used for hitting.
photo copyright: Hasbro, Inc.
2. FunKeys Car Keys
USPIRG cautions that this toy “may violate F-963 loudness standard enforceable by CPSC.” Testing at more than 80 decibels, prolonged exposure to this noise could hurt a child’s hearing. FunKeys Car Keys is manufactured by Maison Joseph Battat Ltd. Mom and Dad probably won’t want to hear it either.
3. Fisher-Price™ Laugh & Learn™ Apptivity™ Monkey
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) gave it the “worst toy of 2012 award” for “squeezing screen time into snuggle time.” A stuffed animal with an iPhone in its tummy, this toy is marketed as “the best of both worlds for baby — a soft, cuddly friend to hold and hug, plus fun interactive learning with (or without) your iPhone or iPod Touch!” The Fisher-Price age code is listed as 6-36 months.
photo copyright: Fisher-Price
4. TheO ball by Physical Apps
The CCFC dislikes TheO ball for many of the same reasons it doesn’t like the Fisher-Price™ Laugh & Learn™ Apptivity™ Monkey. This not-yet-ready-for-market product by Physical Apps combines the joy of a ball with a smartphone. Yikes! Can’t we even give our children freedom from technology long enough to play ball?
photo copyright: Physical Apps
According to USPIRG, Morphobot, manufactured by GreenBrier International Inc., “violates current 100 ppm lead standard, although toys manufactured before August 2011 can still be sold if less than 300ppm.” Lead poses a chronic health hazard to children. It’s not worth the risk.
6. Pee&Poo Duo
This has been around for awhile, and PeeandPoo.com lists these plush toys as “suitable for children for all ages” and they’re washable! I guess this one is just a matter of personal preference, but why would you want your child want to play with pee and poo?
photo copyright: Pee&Poo
7. Magnetic Fishing Game
This Kole Imports game is marketed for children over 16 months old, but the small parts pose a choking hazard for very young children and made W.A.T.C.H.’s “10 Worst Toys” list.
Related reading: High Powered Magnets Deadly to Children
8. Pink Toys
Pink is one of my favorite colors, but does slapping pink on a “boy toy” make it a “girl toy?” Isn’t that just a bit simplistic and condescending? And that theme extends way beyond toys. My hammer will get the job done whether the handle is brown, blue, or pink. I can’t help but wonder if we’ll ever progress beyond the whole pink and blue gender thing. That said, there’s nothing “dangerous” about pink toys, unless they’re used to cement gender stereotypes.
photo: liquidlibrary collection/credit:Jupiterimages/copyright:Getty Images/Thinkstock
9. Small Toy Food
Toddlers put everything in their mouths, and that’s especially true of pretend food. When purchasing toys that look like food, make sure they pass the choke test. Parts small enough to get caught in the throat are never a good idea.
Choke testers are an inexpensive purchase. Balls should measure more than 1.75 inches in diameter and other small parts should measure more than 1.25 inches in diameter.
photo credit: USPIRG
A kitten or a puppy makes an adorable gift, but springing a pet on someone is not fair to the pet or to the recipient. Careful consideration and planning are necessary to ensure that a pet is welcome and the owner is able to provide good care. Unless you are offering the pet to your own child or to someone with whom you discussed the matter, it’s best for all concerned to let people choose their own pets.
photo copyright: Hemera/Thinkstock