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Toy Shopping

As last-minute holiday shopping ramps up, the Boston-based nonprofit World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) has released its annual list of the 10 worst toys of 2017, informing shoppers of this year’s most potentially hazardous toys.

W.A.T.C.H. says consumers are expected to spend 51% of their holiday budget online. This year’s report highlighted retail store purchases and also took close look at the impact of online purchasing when it comes to toy safety.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2015 there were over 254,200 toy-related injuries, and between 2010 and 2015, 72 children died in toy-related incidents.

W.A.T.C.H. says consumers buying toys on the Internet are already at a disadvantage, as they are unable to touch and physically inspect a toy and its packaging at the time of sale for more obvious hazards. In some cases, limited product information on e-commerce sites can lead to misinformed, and potentially dangerous, consumer toy purchases.

The organization's annual list provides highlighted information about the products' warning labels, specified hazards, manufacturers and sellers.

Here are W.A.T.C.H.’s 10 worst toys of 2017:

Brianna Babydoll

10. Brianna Babydoll

Manufacturer or Distributor: Melissa & Doug
Age Recommendation: “Ages 18 Months+”
Warnings: None
Hazard: Potential for choking injuries.

These “huggable, soft” dolls, marketed for babies as young as 18 months old, have “removable clothing.” The pink ponytail holders are also removable, presenting the potential for ingesting and choking.

Jetts Heels Wheels

9. Jetts Heel Wheels

Manufacturer or Distributor: Razor USA LLC
Retailer(s): Kmart; Toys R Us;;;
Age Recommendation: “8+”
Warnings: "Using Heel Wheels can be a dangerous activity and may result in injury or death. Use at your own risk;" and numerous other warnings on package/package insert.
Hazard: Potential for blunt impact and fire-related burn injuries.

Heel Wheels” are marketed to be strapped to heels of children’s shoes so footwear can be transformed into a type of rear-wheel roller skate. The manufacturer adds “real sparking” action to the “Jetts” with “skid pads”, as evidenced by numerous warnings, including: “Keep sparks away from eyes, hair, exposed skin and clothing. Sparks can burn.

Oval Xylophone

8. Oval Xylophone 

Manufacturer or Distributor: Plan Toys, Inc., Plan Creations Co., LTD.
Retailer(s):;;; Magic Beans
Age Recommendation: “12m+”
Warnings: None
Hazard: Potential for ingestion and choking injuries.

This multi-colored musical instrument is sold for babies as young as 12 months old. The manufacturer provides no warnings regarding the slender, rigid approximately 9 ½” long drumstick handle, which has the potential to be mouthed and occlude a child’s airway.

Slackers Slackline classic series kit

7. Slackers Slackline Classic Series Kit

Manufacturer or Distributor: Brand 44
Retailer(s):;; L.L. Bean;; Magic Beans
Age Recommendation: “Ages 5+” (package); “Safe for all ages” (package insert)
Warnings: “WARNING: strangulation hazard”; “CAUTION: Remember a Slackline can be a potentially dangerous piece of equipment and can cause serious injury or even death”, and other warnings/cautions 
Hazard: Potential for strangulation and fall-related injuries.

This Slackline is marketed for “all ages” pursuant to a package insert, providing a tightrope-like device intended to be anchored between two trees. The manufacturer warns of the potential for “severe injury”, including “a strangulation hazard, especially with children.

NERF Zombie Strike Deadbolt Crossbow

6. NERF Zombie Strike Deadbolt Crossbow

Manufacturer or Distributor: Hasbro;
Retailer(s): Kmart;;;
Age Recommendation: “Age 8+” Warnings: “Do not aim or shoot at eyes or face of people or animals”, and other cautions/warnings on product, package, and package insert.
Hazard: Potential for eye injuries.

Children as young as 8-years-old are encouraged to load “arrows” into the “deadbolt” crossbow, pull back the “primary pressurized lever” and fire the projectiles in order to “strike back” at “zombies.” The force of the arrow launch presents the potential for eye and facial injuries.

Spider-man Spider-drone official

5. Spider-man Spider-drone Official Movie Addition

Manufacturer or Distributor: Marvel; Skyrocket Toys LLC
Retailer(s): Target; Best Buy;;
Age Recommendation: “Ages 12+”
Warnings: “Drone has rotating blades that move at high speed, posing danger of injury; “Keep spinning rotors away from fingers, hair, eyes, and other body parts”; and other cautions/warnings on package/package insert.
Hazard: Potential for eye and body impact injuries.

This “official movie edition” remote-control drone, based on the well-known Spiderman Superhero franchise, is sold for use by children. The “performance drone”, designed to launch into the air powered by multiple rotating rotor blades is accompanied by numerous warnings, including the potential for “damage or injury.

Fidget spinners

4. Hand Fidgetz Spinners

Manufacturer or Distributor: Kipp Brothers Retailer(s): Walmart;;
Age Recommendation: None
Warnings: “WARNING: This product is a novelty gift item. It is not intended to be used as a toy.
Hazard: Potential for choking injuries.

Fidget Spinners, like these bright-colored versions, can be found in retail toy aisles. These spinners remain popular with children of all ages, and some present potential small parts hazards.

Wonder Woman battle-action sword

3. Wonder Woman Battle-Action Sword

Manufacturer or Distributor:  Mattel
Retailer(s): Target;;
Age Recommendation: “6+”
Warnings: “WARNING: small parts may be generated” and  battery safety warnings
Hazard: Potential for blunt force injuries.

Young children are encouraged to bear arms, like a popular comic book and movie character, to engage in “fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars.…” The rigid plastic sword blade has the potential to cause facial or other impact injuries.
Pull-along pony

2. Pull Along Pony

Manufacturer or Distributor: Tolo Toys Limited Retailer(s):  Magic Beans;;
Age Recommendation: “12m+”
Warnings:  None

Despite the industry’s standard requiring strings on playpen and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length, manufacturers are still permitted to market “pull toys” such as the “Pull Along Pony” with a cord measuring approximately 19 inches. No warnings are provided.

Hallmark's Itty Bitty stacking toy

1. Hallmark’s “Itty Bittys” Baby Stacking Toy

Manufacturer or Distributor: Hallmark Marketing Company, LLC Retailer(s):
Age Recommendation: None Warnings:  None
Hazard: Potential for choking injuries.

This plush Disney-themed stacking toy with four rattling rings is sold without age recommendations or warnings. The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall notice on August 31, 2017 due to “fabric hats and bows that can detach, posing a choking hazard.” A Hallmark “Itty Bittys” Baby Stacking Toy was purchased online after the recall was announced.

yellow puzzle piece   RELATED: Read Toy Safety Tips for the Holidays - and for Any Day of the Year   yellow puzzle piece

SOURCE - Property Casualty 360 - 2017's 10 Most Hazardous Toys
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