WATCH Announces Its Top 10 Worst Toys List
Bart Simpson's slingshot, Sesame Street's Checkup Ernie and a mock military bazooka made the annual ``10 Worst Toys'' list unveiled on Thursday by a Boston consumer safety group.
The 29th annual list compiled by the group World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) was intended to warn parents against toys that could be dangerous to their children.
``The list exposes potential hazards in some toys sold today, despite efforts year after year to educate and inform the industry,'' said James Swartz, a Boston trial attorney and WATCH director.
Sesame Street's medical checkup Ernie, made by Mattel Inc.'s Fisher-Price unit, comes with a tongue depressor that could become lodged in a child's throat, WATCH said.
The group warned that the mock military bazooka made by 200 Toy Inc. of Milford, Massachusetts, makes four simulated bazooka sounds that could cause hearing loss in children if used too close to the ear.
There were an estimated 152,600 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms last year, WATCH said. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported at least 16 toy-related deaths, WATCH added.
WATCH said the slingshot that comes with the Simpsons' Bart action set, made by privately held Manley Toy Quest of Los Angeles, is capable of firing plastic balls that could cause serious eye injuries.
``Incredibly, we have pointed out on many occasions to manufacturers and retailers that it is illegal for slingshots to be sold in Massachusetts and several other states,'' WATCH said in its report.
David Miller, president of Toy Manufacturers of America Inc., said U.S. toy makers adhere to the ``strictest standards in the world.''
Miller recently called on WATCH to share its information on a more timely basis and to work more closely with U.S. consumer agencies and toy makers.
``With the proliferation of 'lists' promoted during the holiday season, what may have originally been designed to educate and inform has since become vehicles for needlessly alarming parents,'' Miller wrote to WATCH in an Oct. 26 letter.
``Instead of arousing awareness of what to look for, the publicity desensitizes parents to the paramount importance of child safety,'' Miller added.
WATCH said the ``classic horror psycho saw'' made by The Paper Magic Group Inc., part of CSS Industries Inc., invites children as young as 5 years old to push a button for a ``bone-splitting chain saw sound.''
``This gruesome weapon is made of heavy, rigid plastic with the potential for causing blunt trauma injuries,'' WATCH said.
To see WATCH's 10 Worst Toys List, as well as the reasons for each items inclusion on the list, click here.