SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— As we get closer to the season of giving gifts, a consumer watchdog group has released its annual list of the 10 most unsafe toys. World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) has been putting out the list for more than 30 years.
This year’s list of ’10 Worst Toys’ includes; the Airstorm Firetek Bow: a light-up power bow and arrow, Bottle Rocket Party: a set of bottle rockets powered by baking soda and vinegar (no safety goggles included), and Catapencil: a pencil with a mini slingshot-style launcher attached.
The consumer group’s director James Swartz said part of their strategy for finding these toys involves shopping throughout the course of the year, but especially during the holiday season.
“In toy stores they walk up and down the aisle quite literally, but go online more often,” he said.
Some of the toys are repeat offenders and make the list year after year, “even for decades” in some instances. Things like projectiles and small parts that can be choking hazards are pretty common, along with long cords that can cause strangulation.
Swartz said some of the manufacturers have actually defended their toys by saying that their product is in line with existing regulations. Swartz said that’s true in many instances and that part of the problem is that existing regulations are inadequate and the Consumer Product Safety Commission is underfunded.
“For example the regulations require that something marketed and sold as a crib toy have a cord that’s 12 inches long, but a toy marketed as a pull toy for the same-age child, can have a cord 20 inches or longer,” he said.
He makes the point that the strangulation hazard hasn’t gone away, but because it’s sold as a different classification of a toy, it technically complies with regulations.
Overall, Swartz said over the years he’s noticed more attention is being paid to these safety issues for the more than $20 billion toy industry.
Did any of these toys make your child’s wish list? Click To See Full List