The nonprofit known as World Against Toys Causing Harm, or W.A.T.C.H., has released its 2017 list of the "10 Worst Toys" for this year's holiday season. This is the 45th year of the report.
The organization urges toy buyers to take special care when purchasing items online, where information about age restrictions, safety warnings and known hazards may be limited, and where recalled items may still be available. Consumers are expected to spend over half of their holiday budgets online this year.
"The Internet has been compared to the Wild West when it comes to outlawed toys," the group said in a press release. "Shoppers may expect that there are checks and balances in place to prevent the online sale of recalled toys, toys already deemed to be unsafe, but unfortunately this is not always the case."
Without further ado, here is this year's list of most dangerous toys:
1. Hallmark "Itty Bittys" baby stacking toy: Recalled in August for a choking hazard but still available online after the recall
2. Pull Along Pony: 19-inch cord poses strangulation and entanglement risk to small children
3. Wonder Woman battle-action sword: Potential to cause facial and bodily impact injuries
4. Hand Fidgetz spinners: Small parts create a choking hazard, and the safety labeling was inadequate
5. Spider-Man Spider-Drone official movie edition: High-speed, rotating blades may cause eye and bodily impact injuries
6. Nerf zombie strike deadbolt crossbow: Pressurized-launch arrows may cause eye injuries
7. Slackers Slackline classic series kit: Marketed to all ages, this is a tightrope anchored between trees -- it poses both a strangulation hazard and the risk of severe injury
8. Plan Toys, Inc., oval xylophone: Striker poses choking and ingestion hazard
9. Heel wheels: The wheels, which create sparks, are meant to be strapped to children's footwear and pose slip-and-fall and blunt impact risks and are a fire hazard
10. Brianna babydoll: Removable ponytail holders pose a choking and ingestion hazard
This year, the "10 Worst Toys" list received some pushback from toy manufacturers. An industry trade group called the Toy Association called the list "needlessly frightening" because toys sold in the U.S. are already required to meet rigorous safety standards. The group also criticized W.A.T.C.H. because the nonprofit doesn't personally test the toys it criticizes.
Those national standards are inadequate, the president of W.A.T.C.H. responded, noting that each year brings a troublingly high number of toy recalls. Since last December there have been at least 15 toy recalls, accounting for almost 2 million dangerous or defective toys.
Furthermore, one of the toys on the list has already been recalled. Hallmark's "Itty Bittys" baby stacking toy was recalled on Aug. 31 because pieces can detach and present a choking hazard to babies and small children. However, W.A.T.C.H. was still able to purchase the toy online.
W.A.T.C.H.'s president also highlighted the fact that the same types of defects are seen year after year. For example, Tolo Toys' Pull Along Pony has a 19-inch cord, while toys for this age group should have cords no longer than 12 inches.
"We don't need a testing lab to know that's a strangulation and entanglement hazard," she said.
Entire supply chain could be liable for toy-related injuries
Everyone hopes that there will be no injuries caused by holiday toys. Unfortunately, design, manufacturing and marketing defects remain a serious problem. When injuries from dangerous or defective toys do occur, consumers have rights.
Designers, manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers, marketers and everyone else in the supply chain is responsible for product faults that cause injuries.
For example, if a toy has an inadequate label that fails to warn of a known hazard, the entire supply chain could be held liable for any injuries that occurred. Design defects, manufacturing faults, breakage and other problems can also lead to product liability claims.
Toys -- and all products -- are required at the minimum to be safe when used as intended. If you or a loved one is injured by a dangerous or defective product, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away for a review of your case.