2020 has undoubtedly changed many aspects of our lives, especially the way we celebrate. But despite the pandemic, the holiday season has arrived, and the roller coaster of holiday shopping has officially begun.
Online shopping will likely take precedence this year, making it difficult to foresee obvious hazards. Luckily, organizations like “World Against Causing Toys Causing Harm” (W.A.T.C.H) publish a list of the most harmful toys every year. Take a look at what not to put on your gift list for 2020:
W.A.T.C.H.’s 2020 10 Worst Toys
- CALICO CRITTERS NURSERY FRIENDS
“Flocked Animals” are generally dangerous because they are seemingly attractive to young children; however, the small detachable pieces of this particular toy are a definite choking hazard.
- MISSILE LAUNCHER by ToySmith
This toy can shoot up to 75 feet and cause injuries to the face, eyes, pets, or others if misused. The small parts can also be choking hazards for young children.
- MARVEL AVENGERS VIBRANIUM POWER FX CLAW
This toy modeled after the Black Panther claws carries a warning not to swing or hit others or pets. It is being sold for children as young as 5, but the claws are plastic and rigid, which can be harmful. Watch for eye and face injuries.
- GLORIA OWL
On its throwaway tag, this plush toy warns of shedding and course material. Though advertised for as young as 12-month-old infants, the easily shedding material suggests otherwise. The fibers are long and course and could cause choking if ingested.
- WWE JUMBO SUPERSTAR FISTS
It is indicated that this toy should be used, accompanied by adult supervision. It is also made for children as young as 3, but it can cause serious harm if used incorrectly. Watch for blunt force, and impact injuries.
- SCIENTIFIC EXPLORER SCI-FI SLIME
Children should always have adult supervision when slime. W.A.T.C.H. reminds and suggests reading all of the instructions and warnings on/with the box. This kit includes hazardous chemicals and ingredients that can cause severe irritations to the skin, eyes and can be harmful if swallowed.
- THE ORIGINAL BOOMERANG INTERACTIVE STUNT UFO
The boomerang meant to play with friends has a propeller that can potentially cut or injure and possibly damage if misused. Warning labels urge keeping hands, hair, and loose clothing away from propellers.
- BOOM CITY RACERS STARTER PACK
This toy has a ripcord launcher for children to use with a stunt set but warns that it should not be used near the ears, face, or eyes. It has several other warnings, among them, a call not to aim at others or pets.
- MY SWEET LOVE LOTS TO LOVE BABIES MINIS
The mini baby dolls have small accessories, providing many potential hazards like choking and ingestion. Watch for small pieces, possibly occluding airways.
- STAR WARS MANDALORIAN DARKSABER
Children are meant to battle one another with sabers and swing at each other. But the labels warn not to swing, poke, or jab at people or animals. The rigid, plastic toy can cause injuries to the face and/or impact injuries.
Avoid Toys With Harmful Features
It’s impossible to know every single danger that your child could encounter. Still, it is possible to prevent injuries from befalling your children by simply keeping a keen eye on warnings.
The toy industry does not have harsh restrictions making it easier for harmful toys to reach your homes. However, as parents, your children’s safety always comes first. Here are some key features to look out for to make your holiday season a little safe:
- Mislabeled choking hazard warnings
- Toys with small parts
- Flocked animal figures
- Noisy toys
- Toys with [small] magnets
- Online toys that have been recalled
- Products not meant for children
- In-App purchases
While this may be a limited list of features to look for when shopping this season, it is a good jumping-off point for cautious shopping. Always shop with your child’s safety in mind.
Shop Safely This Season
Safely Shop Online: With Covid-19 as a major worry on everyone’s mind, online shopping is likely to be a safer way to buy holiday gifts this year. Since it is difficult to physically look at the toys online before a purchase, it’s always important to inspect the toys and their warnings before giving it to a child.
Shop Defensively: W.A.T.C.H. suggests parents use defensive eyes and minds when purchasing toys. It’s important to think of your child’s playing habits and remember how that will fall into how they play with a certain kind of toy. Always remain vigilant and cautious.
Search Recalls: The best way to be sure your child can enjoy their toys is to be proactive. Search for recalled products on your shopping list and those gifted by others before giving it to your child.
Box Warnings: Toys always come with some kind of warning. Read all instructions and hazard warnings that come with your toys to ensure proper safe play.
Follow Age Restrictions: Along with checking for warnings on the boxes, always be sure to check the age restrictions. Often, toy companies will have a set age limitation to avoid injuries to young children.
It’s recommended to shop from stores you are already familiar with, as well as making sure the online sites you shop from are legitimate. Some unfamiliar stores could be part of a scam or sell unsafe products. Shop smart and have fun!