Aaaah, the holiday season. It returns, bringing with it more joy, wonder and potential deathtraps than you can shake a pointy stick at.
Third-degree burns from frying latkes. E. coli from contaminated romaine lettuce. That concealed carrying cousin from your mom’s side who always wants to pre-game a family gathering with the rallying cry, “Let’s pound some Fireball!”
Don’t forget those killer toys (literally “toys that kill”). You won’t thanks to World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc., which recently released its annual list of “10 Worst Toys.” While “worst” to most parents implies toys that within minutes will either bore kids or be broken, this watchdog group instead selects items kids can use to, within minutes, either bore holes into themselves or break others.
Some choices are no-brainers, as in “you have no brains if you think this is a good purchase for child who can barely control his or her bodily functions.”
These worst toys include:
Marvel Black Panther Slash Claw
Put this hard-plastic “paw” over a hand and release the hard-plastic knife-like “claws” for hours of fun cutting up the neighbors and/or sofa! Made for ages 5 and up, so kindergarten show-and-tell will never be bloodier.
Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Superstar Blade
It’s not just a plastic sword. It’s a SPRING-LOADED plastic sword! If you are cool with giving this to a 4-year-old (that’s the minimum age recommendation), save yourself the $30 and give your child the aforementioned pointy stick. Your grandpa played with a pointy stick and he lived until a ripe ol’ 56, pretty good for a man living during the era of a daily habit of two pack of unfiltered Camels and four trans-fat filled Twinkies.
Magnetic cutting fruit
It’s a thick plastic knife your budding Gordon Ramsay can use to “slice” a pre-halved magnetic apple, pear and orange. Frankly, I’m less concerned with the injuries from the fake knife than with the brain-wiring of an adult willing to shell out $40 on this toy’s concept. Dude, you could have bought four Black Panther Slash Claws with that cash!
Worst toys to shoot out an eye with
This list, as it does every year, contains a few obvious items that fire projectiles. This year’s bad seeds are the Nerf Vortex VTX Praxis Blaster, a plastic assault rifle that shoots little plastic discs, and the Stomp Rocket Ultra Rocket, a foam-tipped missile that can soar up to 200 feet in air when someone jumps on the inflatable launcher. While using these to take down the brat-next-door’s drone that has been buzzing your yard since August sounds intriguing, most parents know in their hearts that no good can come from these toys. Not because of injuries, but because it won’t be long after the unwrapping that the projectiles will be fired onto a roof, into a tree or down a toilet.
Choking, strangulation and acid burns — oh, my!
The remaining listed toys present the usual choking hazards from tiny parts or potential for strangulation from cords. One of these toys — the plush Nickelodeon Nella Princess Knight Pillow Pets Sleeptime Lites — has the added warning of “battery acid leakage.” Bonus!
The organization’s news release tries to drive in a final nail by citing some pretty scary statistics, such as an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries in the United States in 2016 and a shocking 40-percent increase in toy-related injuries between 1990 and 2011. However, this reveals two positives:
- With all the stress and craziness in the world, there’s still time to play and;
- Expect a major resurgence in the pointy stick industry.