For the 33rd year, Boston consumer advocates and trial attorneys, Edward M. Swartz and James A. Swartz, have unveiled their nominees for the “10 Worst Toys” on behalf of World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc., or WATCH.
According to WATCH, potentially hazardous toys are not tested by the government until a complaint has been lodged. By that time, the toy has already found its way into many children’s toy boxes and it becomes difficult to recall.
“The first line of defense for toy safety must be safe design and manufacture. Toys and games represent a $30 billion a year industry,” the attorneys said in their announcement. “It is time for safety to come before profits.”
The CPSC reported that in 2004, there were at least 16 toy-related deaths and an estimated 210,300 toy-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms.
Swartz said the annual “10 Worst Toys” list exposes toy hazards seen year after year, despite efforts to educate the industry. He stressed that these particular toys are illustrative of some hazards in toys being sold and should not be considered as the only hazardous toys on the market.
Nominees for the “10 Worst Toys” for the year 2005 as described by WATCH include:
Baby Serena- Baby I’m Yours, sold by Target. Its “soft carrier, rattle and magic bottles pose a choking hazard for young children, according to WATCH.
The Splatmatic Pistol Splat Paintball Shooter, made by Palco Markekting, fires 50 caliber paint balls at high velocity and has the potential for eye and face injuries.
City Blocks, by IQ Preschool-Small World Toys. The blocks have small round beads that could become separated and ingested.
The Lord of the Rings-Return of the King Uruk-Hai Crossbow Set including an Electronic Light ‘n’ Sound Sting Sword. Manufactured by Toy Biz, NYC, Division of Marvel Enterprises, Inc. Children as young as five years of age are encouraged to shoot “arrows” over 30 feet with “3 power settings.” Despite the “soft tips” on the ammunition, the arrows are catapulted by the crossbow at high velocity, and users are cautioned not to “aim at eyes or face.”
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sixth Energy Beam Blaster by Hasbro.
This toy includes two pressurized “energy beam string canisters.” The toy is sold with numerous warnings and cautions, including “Do not leave in direct sunlight or store in hot vehicle,” since doing so can “cause can to burst violently.” Children as young as five years old are further warned not to spray the canister’s contents in eyes or faces.
The complete list can be found at www.toysafety.org.
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