At this very moment, there are literally hundreds upon hundreds of different toys in circulation, toys that come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with different levels of complexity and varying price ranges. Although kids have always played with them, toys have changed a great deal over the past 3,000 years, seeing as the first toys were basically either some kind of ball or a figure made of wood or stone. Now, the majority of toys either have multiple components or are powered via some form of electricity, and for the most part, they are all pretty safe. With that being said, though, there have still been toys that were released that have proven to be dangerous to kids in some way, to the extent that you have to question why they were even released to the public in the first place, and this article will identify 15 of those dangerous toys.
15. CSI: Fingerprint Examination Kit – Kit Contained Asbestos
People have always enjoyed crime dramas, and at one point in time, CBS was the king of that genre, all thanks to the CSI franchise which had three different shows airing at the same time. At its peak, the franchise was insanely popular so, of course, the network wanted to take advantage of its popularity by trying to sell official merchandise, including some marketed towards kids. The CSI: Fingerprint Analysis Kit was released in 2007, and it allowed kids to become crime scene investigators by giving them the tools to record fingerprints. The only problem, though, was that the kits contained a form of asbestos, a mineral that is known for causing lung disease and cancer. When some kids started to get sick, and the cause was discovered, parents rightfully sued the toy manufacturer who should have never allowed such a hazardous toy to pass quality control in the first place.
14. The Austin Magic Pistol – Can Cause Mini Explosions?
America loves guns—a statement that is true no matter what your political leanings are, which is why parents have been buying toy guns for their children for decades, toys that luckily do not come with actual bullets. The Austin Magic Pistol is one of those toy guns, and it was known for firing ping pong balls, objects that you’d assume would be pretty safe, and they would have been, if they were the only thing that the pistol fired. When fired, it would also shoot out something called “magic crystals,” which were basically solidified pieces of a chemical compound known as Calcium carbide. When this chemical comes into contact with any kind of moisture, it can create a highly flammable gas which can cause a mini explosion. It is because of this compound that some of these pistols ended up firing flaming ping pongs balls, which had the ability to travel over 70 ft.
13. Moon Shoes
We all own at least one pair of shoes, partly because they serve as a fashion accessory, but their main purpose is to provide the soles of our feet with protection from any sharp objects on the ground outside of our homes. Nickelodeon is a TV network that has provided entertainment solely for kids since 1977, and in the early 2000’s, they launched a new merchandising campaign which included the Moon Shoes. They may have used the word shoe in the marketing, but other than the part you strapped your feet into, there was no actual shoe. This toy came equipped with trampoline-like springs, and they were even marketed as “mini trampolines for your feet,” which meant that there was a lot of jumping involved. These ‘shoes’ were fun, but they were terrible when it came to balance and safety, as evidenced by the fact that several kids broke their ankles while using them.
12. The Original Creepy Crawlers Workshop (By Mattel)
The Easy-Bake Oven is a working toy oven that actually allows its user to bake cakes, but it was primarily marketed towards girls, which is why other manufacturers tried to make ovens that catered more to boys. In 1964, Mattel released the Creepy Crawlers Workshop, which allowed the user to create their own insect-shaped toys through the use of an oven and metal molds, toys that looked like they were made out of candy rather than plastic. This oven was actually pretty safe as long as you never put your hand inside of it while it was on, because while on, it reached nearly 400 degrees which can cause some very bad and painful burns. That was not the only issue with this toy, though, because when you melt plastic, it produces toxic fumes that can make you very sick, which no one apparently cared about at the time. But then again, it was the ‘60s.
11. The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab – Pieces Of Live Uranium Ore
Following the events of the second World War, atomic energy became very popular, especially in the 1950’s and especially in the US since the country used that energy in order to put an end to the conflict. Atomic energy may indeed be the future, but as we have seen in Chernobyl and Fukushima, it is also fairly dangerous, partly because Uranium, the element needed to create atomic energy, is very toxic to humans. In 1950, the A.C. Gilbert Company released the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab in order to make kids think they were scientists, but the lab came with not one but three different pieces of live Uranium ore. Exposure to Uranium can cause radiation sickness and any number of different cancers, and seeing as exposure is still incredibly dangerous today, even for adults who take every precaution possible, you can only imagine how dangerous it was for unprotected kids in the ‘50s.
A magnet is an object that produces a magnetic field, and most of the time, it is used to attract metallic objects, a function that toy manufacturers have taken advantage of over the years in a variety of ways. There are kids who like to play with magnets and like to build things, which is why Magnetix was created, as the set managed to combine both those things into one. This construction set allowed kids to build things by taking small plastic pieces with magnets on the ends and sticking them to small metallic balls, which sounds like a pretty safe activity, but it was only safe as long as the person using it was of a certain age. Toddlers like to put things in their mouths, and sometimes, they end up swallowing those things, and Magnetix faced a lot of scrutiny and even a recall when several toddlers had to undergo surgery to remove some of the pieces they swallowedbecause the magnets were so strong that they would attract the metal pieces from inside the child.
9. Rollerblade Barbie By Mattel – Actual Lighter-Like Sparks
Mattel is one of biggest toy manufacturers in the world, and although it has several popular product brands, the Barbie fashion doll is by far the most successful, having sold more than a billion dolls worldwide. Young girls and some boys have loved Barbie ever since the first doll was released to the public in 1959, and over the decades, Barbie has had every single job and accessory imaginable. In the mid-90’s, Mattel decided to release what is known as Rollerblade Barbie. Based on its name, you know that this Barbie came with rollerblades, except that they were not ordinary rollerblades, because they would spark when she moved. Now, normally, sparks like these would be the work of some kind of lighting device, but in this case, these were actual flint sparks like what you get when you use a lighter, so they would actually cause certain materials and surfaces to ignite and catch fire.
8. The Belt Buckle Derringer
Earlier on this list, we mentioned that kids in the U.S. have been getting toy guns for a very long time, but as this list entry will show, some toy guns were also once marketed as a minor fashion accessory. The Belt Buckle Derringer was released in 1959, and needless to say, it was a toy gun based on the Derringer pocket pistol, which could also be worn as part of a belt buckle. As you might have guessed, it was indeed possible to fire this pistol while wearing it with the buckle. In fact, kids liked to fire it that way because of the loud noise it made. The problem, though, is that the manufacturer did not really think things through because for some reason, they decided to make the toy bullets out of plastic which were encased in brass, and seeing as these bullets could randomly travel in any direction for up to 15 ft, there were quite a few eye injuries.
7. The Snacktime Cabbage Patch Doll
As mentioned earlier, Barbies are still quite popular, especially with little girls. But before those girls get addicted to Barbie, they become obsessed with dolls that look like babies and toddlers. The Cabbage Patch Kids are a line of soft sculpted dolls that have been in production since 1978, and collectively, there have been more than 3 million units sold all over the world. In the mid-90’s, the Snacktime Cabbage Patch Doll was released, and it came with a unique feature, a pair of mechanical jaws that would chew whatever would be placed into its mouth. The doll came with its own “snacks,” but little kids would also let the doll chew on their hair and fingers, which would have been fine if the jaws were not so unnecessarily powerful. In one incident, a doll latched onto a little girl’s hair and kept “eating” it until it pulled her hair out by the roots. Horrifyingly, on several occasions, the jaws snapped shut on toddlers who placed their fingers into its mouth.
6. Trampoline – The American Academy Of Pediatrics Advises That Children Should Not Use Them
All of us were once kids, so it is fair to assume that we all agree that kids like to jump around from time to time, an activity that is, in fact, fun when you are young. But, it can also be dangerous. Most kids jump on their beds or couches, and in most of those cases, at least one parent will tell their kid to stop jumping mainly because they know that one slip-up will cause their kid to land on a hard floor, which can end really badly if they land on their head. This did not stop the trampoline, a device made from a strong fabric stretched over a steel frame using coiled springs, from being invented and marketed towards kids, and boy do kids really love a good trampoline. To give you an idea of how dangerous trampolines actually are, you are required to notify your home owner’s insurance provider if you have one, and The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children should not use them.
5. Slip n’ Slide By Wham-O
We can all agree that the summer months can be incredibly hot, which is why so many of us do whatever we can in order to stay cool while outside, and what better way to stay cool than by using water. It goes without saying that kids have a blast while swimming in a pool, but kids do not want to stay in a single body of water forever, which is why the Wham-O company came up with the idea to combine playing in water with something else kids like to do—sliding. The Slip ‘N Slide was first released in 1961, and it generally consists of a long thin sheet of plastic connected to a garden hose which runs water along the surface of the sheet. This toy has been marketed to kids since its inception, but it is strange that it is still in circulation because over the years, many people, including children, have suffered serious neck injuries, including 8 individuals who became paralyzed.
4. Sky Dancers
Galoob is the name of a now defunct toy manufacturer, and they were best known for producing the Micro Machines toy line. But in 1994, they released a new toy called the Sky Dancer just in time for the holidays. It is a pretty safe bet that many of us remember these things. They were fairy dolls with foam wings that you would place on a base, and after pulling a string, the doll would launch into the air and twirl. These toys were quite popular at launch, and although many young girls had fun with them, there were several kids who found themselves getting pretty hurt. At the end of the day, this toy was still a hard piece of plastic flying randomly through the air, which means that it sometimes flew into the kids playing with them, causing injuries such as facial lacerations, scratched corneas, mild concussions, and in some cases, temporary blindness.
3. Aqua-Leisure Baby Boat
It goes without saying that newborns and toddlers need our protection more than anyone else as they literally have virtually no means to defend themselves, which is why Aqua-Leisure faced heavy scrutiny in 2002. That year, the company released the Baby Boat, which was a small inflatable boat made for toddlers and babies so that they could safely float in the water without accidentally drowning. The child would be secured into the boat through the use of a leg strap, a strap that was actually not that strong and ended up tearing quite easily, and when it did, there was a good chance that the boat would abruptly turn over whenever the child would move. Parents were justifiably upset when they saw that the boat was actually causing their kids to get submerged under water, a design flaw that could have turned out to be deadly. But luckily, no infants died.
2. Sky Ranger Radio Controlled Airplane By Estes
There have always been people who have had a genuine interest in aerodynamics and airplanes, which is why some people go out and get a pilot’s license. But for those who do not want to fly an actual aircraft, there are various model airplane brands. A model airplane is a miniature plane that can be maneuvered through the air by using a remote control, and unless you intentionally–or accidentally–fly one into yourself or another person, no one should get hurt while using it. In 2007, Estes released the Sky Ranger radio controlled airplane, which flew well, but shortly after its release, the company had to issue a recall after reports surfaced that several of their planes were blowing up. You read that right. The planes would actually spontaneously combust while being used, and there were more than 50 recorded incidents where this happened, incidents that resulted in several children getting injured.
1. Javelin Darts By Hasbro
Hasbro has given us G.I. Joe and Transformers, two of the most popular kids toy lines in history, and although both brands have produced toys with small pieces that are legitimate choking hazards, they are not nearly as dangerous as some of their previous toys. In the 1950’s, Hasbro released Javelin Darts, an outdoor game that combined the javelin toss with darts, which means that the darts being used were pretty big. The whole point of this game was to throw your dart into a circular target, and in order for the darts to stick into the ground, they needed to be ‘sharp’ and ‘weighted’, two words that should not be used to describe an object that kids will be throwing around. This game is still available, except the darts all now come with soft tips, a change that occurred because of a little girl who tragically lost her life in 1987 after being hit by one of the original darts.