As parents, it’s our job to keep our kids safe in a world full of many potential dangers. But, how often is the danger found right in their toy box? Or, in the products we buy to keep them “safe” while they play? Keep on your toes, the threats are lurking everywhere. Here I thought lawn darts and the easy bake oven were all I had to worry about. Take a look at this list and you’ll see it is much more complicated than that.
Aqua Leisure Baby Boat
When you picture a “boat”, something that floats usually comes to mind. Well, not this time. From 2002-2009, this baby boat was sold in a variety of colors and styles; a crab, a seahorse, a turtle. All adorable to look at but don’t even think about putting your baby in one. Turns out, the leg strap often tears allowing baby to plunge right through. No injuries were reported and Aqua Leisure paid a $650,000 penalty. Their website boasts that they have been selling “fun, safe and innovative products for 40 years”. Try convincing all those frantic parents.
Fisher Price Little People
These fun, little characters were produced from the late 1950’s until the early 1990’s. Starting off as wood and then plastic, these little guys presented quite a choking hazard for the kids. The result? Starting in 1991, /Fisher Price switched to an oversize model that was nearly twice the width as the originals. These were lovingly referred to as “chunky people”. But, as kids became “chunky people” (no blame to Fisher Price), and society starting recognizing obesity in children, they needed a new image. The next design was a slimmer version with limbs and made completely out of rubber.
This doll hit store shelves in 1998. Based on a popular character from The Teletubbies T.V. show, it looked innocent enough. But, parents started reporting that Po had quite the potty mouth and was teaching kids to say “fagot” and “bite my butt”. The doll was pulled from shelves even though Playskool claimed the doll was only saying “faster” and “slower”. Now, the only vulgarity we need to worry about is Daddy after stepping on a Lego in the middle of the night.
Cabbage Patch Kids: Snack Time Kid
Debuting in 1996, this was an adorable doll that mimicked eating by “chewing” on plastic snacks. That wasn’t all she chewed on. She also possessed a sick craving for baby fingers and little girls’ hair. After several reports from parents, Mattel pulled the chompin’ cutie line. 500,000 dolls had already been sold.
Magic Start & Crawl Stand
No need to wait for an older sibling to beat you up, this toy can give you bruises and black eyes when it falls on top of you. It was designed for babies still crawling to pull up on and stand. Unfortunately, the whole thing would often fall on baby’s head. Playskool recalled the toy in 2003 after 44 reports of “tipping”.
Baby Walker Toy Attachments
We are all familiar with the baby walker. It’s big and bulky and dangerous to all grown-ups who want to keep their toes. Turns out, a walker made by Kolcraft Enterprises was dangerous for babies too. The toy attachments on the tray (stars) were detaching from the stems. That left sharp edges causing injuries to baby’s eyes, eyelids, face and tongue. Talk about seeing stars. Thankfully, it was recalled in 2002.
Thomas & Friends Trains
I think I can, I think I can… can what? Get lead poisoning, that’s what. Many wooden Thomas & Friends locomotives tested positive for high levels of lead in their paint. In 2007, the rails were shut down and these toys were stopped dead in their tracks.
These were marble sized balls that absorbed water and “grew”. The package boasted that it “Grows to the size of a racquetball”. Sounds okay, right? Maybe not if it is inside your stomach. An 8 month old girl swallowed one and had to have surgery to remove the monster that can expand up to 400 times its original size. Talk about some serious water retention. DuneCraft voluntarily recalled Water Balz in 2012.
C’mon, with a name like that, how could this little penguin pose any threat? In 2008, this penguin ended up in about 3,000 homes. It was too big to be a choking hazard so what’s the problem? It all started with a beheading. One young boy ripped the head right off old Jingles and exposed the nails that held the bird together. Jingles flew the coop shortly afterward.
Oscar the Grouch Doll
We all know Oscar can be a bit of a crab. Now, we know why. The popular Sesame Street character was wearing a garbage can lid for a hat. Too bad the hat could easily break off which posed as a choking hazard to little ones. This Oscar doll was trashed in 2008.