When you talk about product liability, a story of a dangerous toy or a childhood injury almost always comes up. While there are a lot of injuries reported by manufacturing oversights, some toys are just plain irresponsible. Check out our list of the top ten most dangerous toys of all time:
10. Cinderella Battery-Powered Toy Cars
The CPSC announced a recall of about 64,000 Electric Cinderella cars made by Dumar International after it was found that the battery would overheat. Reports of 40 incidents of wires overheating led to a voluntary recall of the product in 2005.
Consumers reported smoke coming from underneath the seats, while the seats themselves became increasingly hot. In one incident, flames shot out from beneath the hood while a 4-year-old was riding. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
The electric princess vehicles resemble a Pontiac Solstice with light blue bodies and pink wheels. The cars include Cinderella decals and a Walt Disney license plate.
9. Atomic Energy Lab
The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Laboratory is a radioactive play set produced by Alfred Carlton Gilbert and sold between 1950 and 1951. The set included real Geiger sensitive Uranium, and an order form if your radioactive sample stopped setting of the Geiger Counter.
The set was originally sold for $49.50, which was a hefty price tag. By today’s standards would be equivalent to roughly $400. However, due to the sophisticated nature of the toy lab, the company lost money on every toy sold.
Marketed as “The most advanced scientific toy ever created” kids were encouraged to measure atomic radiation, and actually prospect for uranium. The “completely safe and harmless” toy promised a $10,000 prize offered by the U.S. Government to any child who proved successful.
The Atomic Energy Lab was banned in the U.S. after it was suggested that children might ingest the radioactive materials.
8. Snacktime Cabbage Patch Doll
Of the dolls of the late 1980’s, none was more popular than Cabbage Patch Dolls. Little girls simply had to collect every one. While the Snacktime Cabbage Patch Doll was marketed as a doll who loves to snack and “really chews!” Manufacturers, didn’t include a mechanism that could stop the doll from eating in the event that something other than plastic carrots and French fries manage to make it into her mouth—say, little girls’ hair.
Several young girls were featured on the news in the mid-90s for such incidents. Some had to get their hair cut or shaved in order to release it from the doll’s stomach. In other cases, the doll was actually powerful enough to rip the hair right out of the little girls’ scalp!
In response to a small-scale hair eating epidemic, Mattel Inc. offered to pay $40 for each returned Snacktime Cabbage Patch Doll.
7. Sky Dancers
In 2000, Hasbro recalled approximately 8.9 million Sky Dancers (a product of Galoob Toys inc, which was purchased by Hasbro in 1998.) The ballerina dolls are launched rapidly into the air and propelled by their foam wings. The dancers were found to spin out of control—hitting children and adults with their hard plastic bodies. Galoob inc received 170 reports of injuries including broken teeth, blindness, facial lacerations, and even a broken rib.
6. Aqua Dots
Aqua Dots Design Studio (sold in Australia as “Bindeez”) allows children to create 3D creation using small beads that become adhesive when wet. Once dried, kids are left with their own fixed creations.
The toy was recalled later that year after it was revealed that that adhesive coating was made with a chemical that converts into a powerful date rape drug when swallowed. Two children in the U.S. and 3 in Australia were hospitalized after swallowing several beads. The affected children became dizzy, vomited, and eventually slipped into a comatose state for as many as five days!
Just 2 years later, Aqua Dots hit the market again under the name “Pixos” in the U.S. and “Beados” in Australia in a transparent attempt to disassociate the old toy from the new ones. The products were marketed as “safely tested” and manufactured using only approved ingredients. However, the background music in the television commercials remains exactly the same.
5. Professor Wacko’s Exothermic Exuberance
Professor Wacko’s Exothermic Exuberance chemistry set was originally marketed for children aged 10 and up. The chemistry set is intended to be an educational toy that teaches kids about heat and fire generated through chemical reaction. Unsurprisingly, it was found that mixing small amounts of chemicals glycerine and potassium permanganate could react with heat and fire.
Several incidents, including at least two house fires were reported to the CPSC after bottle caps of the above chemicals were inadvertently switched. The Wild Goose Co. recalled the exothermic science kit in 1994.
4. Magnetix Magnet Building Sets
Magnetix, intended for ages 6 and up were recalled after one death, and 26 injuries requiring Emergency surgery were reported. Children were swallowing the small, yet powerful magnetic balls. If the child then swallowed a second magnet, or a metal object, the pieces would attract to each other inside the intestines. This could then lead to potentially fatal perforations and blockage.
3. The Austin Magic Pistol
The popular Austin Magic Pistol was marketed in the 1940s as a toy space gun, but used very real Calcium Carbide, which, when mixed with water causes an explosive reaction—launching a ping-pong ball out of the muzzle at an alarming rate of speed. Needless to say, they were quickly taken off the market after reports of fireball-related injuries started pouring in.
The vintage toy pistol has become something of an object of desire for collectors of toys or guns (or toy guns) as many of the original toys exploded during firing.
All the rage in the 1980s, Jarts, or lawn darts, were marketed as an adult toy—designed for a game similar to horseshoes. Jarts were intended to be tossed underhand, and land in the ground with their spiked metal tip.
Despite the complete ban in the United States and Canada in 1988, and a CPSC warning to destroy any remaining Jart sets, it is completely legal to buy and sell replacement parts. There’s even an underground Jarts tournament in Dayton, Ohio.
With four deaths and over 6 thousand reported injuries, lawn darts take the number 2 spot for most dangerous toys of all time.
Yes, trampolines come in as the number one most dangerous toy of all time! According to the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, 246,875 trampoline injuries occur annually in the United States alone. Between 1990 and 1999, there were 11 trampoline-related deaths.
If someone you know suffers a trampoline injury, your immediate response would depend upon how severe the injury is. If the injured suffers a sprain or broken bone, they can be brought to a hospital, however if there is any suspicion of a potential spine or neck injury, call 911. The victim should not be moved until EMS arrives.
Additionally, it is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as practical. Even if it seems that the injury wasn’t anyone’s fault, you may still be entitled to some economic recovery for your expenses. No personal injury lawyer should ever charge you for a trampoline accident consultation.