Every year there is a hot new toy that almost every child wants, but sometimes these toys pose a threat to a child’s safety. Toys intended for children 12 and under must be certified with a Children’s Product Certificate by third party testing. Though this testing covers things like small objects and sharp edges, there is still room for harm during actual use. Over 200,000 Americans suffered toy-related injuries last year and 69% of them were children under the age of 12. Here are just a few sought after toys that were eventually recalled after posing threats to safety.
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You could barely walk through a mall last year without finding at least one hoverboard kiosk. But throughout 2017, several models were recalled. Over 250 incidents of hoverboards overheating and catching fire were reported. Multiple burn injuries were reported, and a few fatalities even occurred when the defective products started house fires.
Fisher-Price Soothing Motions Seat™
This seat was designed to be perfect for babies ready for a nap, fully decked-out with a mobile, nature sounds, and bounce settings. But in October 2017, 63,000 were recalled when the motor housing overheated and presented a fire hazard while in use. Although no injuries have been reported, there has been one instance of a fire contained within the motor housing. Fisher-Price voluntarily recalled these models and offered a full refund of the product.
Snacktime Cabbage Patch Kids™
Cabbage Patch Kids were the must-have toy of the 80’s. In 1983, almost three million Cabbage Patch Kids were adopted. In January of ’97, their newest addition to their product line, the Snacktime Kid was recalled. Reports came in that kids had their hair and fingers caught in the mouth of the doll so Mattel launched a voluntary refund program. Part of the issue with the doll was that the only way to immediately turn off the chewing mechanism was to find the battery pack and flip its switch. Taking all those steps may not be reasonable to expect of a child or parent when an emergency has presented itself.
Easy-Bake ovens have been a popular toy since 1963. A simple mixture is poured into a tin and then baked. The 2006 model of the easy-bake oven was recalled after over 300 reports of children’s hands being caught in the oven’s opening. Today, the Easy Bake uses a real heating element rather than a lightbulb, and has been redesigned to contain the cooking process out of reach of children.
This unique arts and crafts toy allowed children to create shapes and characters with a spritz of water. All they needed to do was arrange their dots, give their creation a spray, and their craft was complete. When wet, the dots released a glue that held their shape. However, these tiny dots resembled candy. Two reports were filed that children swallowed the dots, vomited multiple times, and lapsed into a coma. After these incidents, AquaDots recalled their product in 2007 after discovering one of the ingredients broke down into date-rape drug GHB when it was digested.
All these examples are scary, but they also illustrate that holiday toy safety is sometimes in a consumer’s control, but often not. Supervision of young children and following use and safety instructions when playing with a new toy is essential, but doesn’t always protect everyone involved.