Every year the organization announces their list of toys that could pose potential safety hazards. Some of the toys are included because they present potential choking or strangulation hazards. Others seem to be included just because the kind of toy they are is inherently dangerous.
This year the DC Comics Wonder Woman Battle Action Sword was included because "Young children are encouraged to bear arms, like a popular comic book and movie character, to engage in 'fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars. …'" according to a press release.
WATCH is not wrong that the hard plastic sword "has the potential to cause facial or other impact injuries," but any toy sword would do that. That's why parents everywhere shout things like, "Don't hit your brother with a sword!" And why we try not to give toy swords to kids who don't yet understand, "Don't actually hit people with this sword."
Some of the other toys are included because they pose potential risks for small children. A pull-along pony toy is approved for kids over 12 months old, but it has a 19-inch cord that WATCH says could pose a strangulation hazard.
One of the toys on the list, Hallmark's "Itty Bittys" soft stacking toys for babies, were actually recalled. It's a stacking toy with Disney faces and rattling rings inside, and it's made for babies, but it was recalled at the end of August because Donald's hat and Daisy's bow could come off and create a choking hazard. It still made it onto the "Worst Toys list because recalled toys are often still available on the secondary market. WATCH says it purchased one after the recall was supposed to be in effect.
WATCH included fidget spinners on its list because they have small parts that present a choking hazard. A different consumer safety group recently warned that some commonly available fidget spinners might contain a dangerous amount of lead.
The Toy Association, an industry trade group for companies that make toys, called the WATCH report "needlessly frightening." It says all the toys on the list meet "rigorous" U.S. toy safety standards.
WATCH maintains that those toy safety standards are inadequate, and points out that there have been at least 15 toy recalls in the past year.
Hallmark "Itty Bittys" Baby Stacking Toy - Potential choking injuries.
Pull-Along Pony - 19" cord poses potential strangulation threat.
Wonder Woman Battle-Action Sword - Potential impact injuries.
Fidget Spinners - Choking hazard.
Spider-Man Spider-Drone Official Movie Edition - Rotating blades, potential eye and body impact injuries.
Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt Crossbow - Potential eye injuries.
Slackers Slackline Classic Series Kit - This is a tightrope designed to be anchored between two trees. Potential for strangulation and fall-related injuries.
Oval Xylophone - Drumstick handle choking hazard.
Jetts Heel Wheels - Sparking wheels that attach to a kid's shoes to be used as roller skates. Potential burns and fire-related injuries from sparking effect.
Briana Baby Doll - Doll is marketed to kids 18 months and up. Its removable clothing and ponytail holders present a potential choking hazard.
(Image: iStock / EvgeniiAnd)