Tearing open carefully-wrapped gifts on Christmas morning creates some of the most joyful holiday memories for kids. Even adults occasionally get carried away in the frenzy, caught in the childish enthusiasm of the moment. Retailers and manufacturers rely on this annual tradition to boost profits and get rid of shelves full of toys on an annual basis.
However, not all gifts are created equal. Every now and then, Santa Claus breaks into homes and leaves behind toys that are surprisingly dangerous and inappropriate for young children. Due to manufacturing oversights concerning child safety, Santa occasionally delivers risky vehicles, weaponized toys and products that contain choking hazards.
Most of the items on this list of the most dangerous toys for Christmas 2014 are found in large retail outlets such as Walmart and Toys R US, websites including Amazon and eBay, as well as in less popular chains like KMart. Some of these products present obvious risks and are nevertheless sold to unsuspecting parents while other toys have unexpected problems that result in genuine danger. It’s probably not a coincidence that most of these toys are inexpensive.
10. – Colored Hedgehog
Designed for children aged zero and older, the dreaded, imaginatively-named “Colored Hedgehog” made the W.A.T.C.H. most dangerous toy list despite its friendly smile and magnanimous demeanor. While the manufacturer does include a warning to get rid of all plastic loops, twist-ties and tags, unfortunately, the warning is written only on the tag itself. An additional choking hazard that’s not listed on the product is the fuzzy, troll-doll fur that’s so easy to remove that even a zero-year-old child can rip it out. This deceptively dangerous toy is offered at the breathtaking price of $10.99 from Toys R US.
9. – True Legends Orcs Battle Hammer
Does your three-year-old respond to the call of battle by roaring into action? Good news! For only $14.49, Toys R US wants to sell you a hard plastic hammer that’s nearly two feet in length, fulfilling a Christmas wish for all kids three years and older who want to cause blunt force trauma in defense of a just cause.
In this case, the manufacturer implores kids to become a true legend by playing as a “Savage Orc”, which involves defending oneself against anything that isn’t an orc. This product arrives complete with absolutely no warnings on the package, just like back in the day.
8. – LiL’ Cutesies – Best Friends
Parents never want their kids to hang out with the wrong crowd. According to W.A.T.C.H., this Lil’ Cutesies toy is a terrible best friend for children two years and older.
Manufacturer JC Toys Group was kind enough to stress that all the tabs, ties, tags, elastic and plastic loops and mounting accessories are not actually part of this toy, but they don’t mention that the bow on top of the freakishly large head is easily removed, becoming a serious choking hazard. This best friend is available for the low price of $4.84 to $7.99, depending on how much markup you feel like paying.
7. – Bottle Rocket Party
Norman & Globus Inc., manufacturer and distributor of fine toy products, present the Bottle Rocket Party, which is guaranteed to blast any celebration into the stratosphere for children aged 8 and older. Available at the Village Toy Shop, Amazon and Walmart for only $14.99, this superfun toy has been deemed a projectile weapon, capable of causing eye, face and other impact injuries, even in the presence of adults.
Warnings are included on the box, but much-needed safety goggles are not. Especially creative children may opt to add an explosive payload – not sold separately – to the nose of their party rocket, just like Lockheed Martin.
6. – Walmart Wooden Instruments
Another generically-named toy making the top ten most dangerous list is “Wooden Instruments”, a toy manufactured by Walmart at the amazing price of $9.97 per unit. For some reason, the package includes a drumstick that’s 4.5 inches long and just thin enough for their target market to swallow, risking a blocked airway. Despite the obvious danger this toy represents, Walmart doesn’t warn parents about the choking hazard… or the fact that their product will bore kids to tears.
5. – SWAT Electric Machine Gun
In Michael Moore‘s Bowling for Columbine, KMart was shamed into changing their policy for handgun ammunition, spurred by victims of violence attempting to return bullets lodged in their body for a refund. One of the newest shames sold by KMart is the SWAT Electric Machine Gun that closely resembles actual deadly weaponry, at the bulletproof price of $9.99.
Even the manufacturers, Junxing Toys Industrial Co. and Toy 2u Manufactory Co., warn that police may mistake it for a real gun. This is less than ideal considering the history in the U.S. of unarmed people – even kids – getting shot after law enforcement mistakenly believes that a weapon is present.
4. – Alphabet Zoo Rock & Stack Pull Toy
Beneath the package of this product, manufacturer Skip Hop warns that children shouldn’t be left alone with this toy. They also warn that this pull toy is a strangulation risk due to a 20-inch long cord, eight inches longer than typical regulations.
For some reason, these warnings aren’t listed anywhere else on the product, despite its advanced lethality. Sold by Toys R US, Magic Beans and Amazon, the toy is marketed to children 18 months and older at the fantastic price of $19.99.
3. – Catapencil
Sold for $3.99 without age or safety recommendations, the Catapencil is manufactured by Toysmith and sold at Amazon, Learning Express and Ebay. Admittedly, this pencil is cool because it can turn learning into combat at a moment’s notice, but it probably shouldn’t be marketed to kids, considering the fact that it can be used as both a prison shiv and a launcher of sharpened objects.
The package tells children aged zero to a hundred to be safe while touting the fact that the Catapencil is “mightier than the sword” and designed to be “target practice for your desktop!”
2. – Radio Flyer Ziggle
Recommended for children between three and eight, Radio Flyer Ziggle seems like harmless fun for kids, but this product’s design means it can result in terrible accidents. Since there are no breaks and no mechanism that propels the Ziggle backwards, kids may end up flying down hills, towards steps, pools and motor vehicles without being able to alter their trajectory.
The seat is also low to the ground, making kids invisible to cars and trucks while they operate the Ziggle. The packaging doesn’t help either, including a child on the front of the box without a helmet or safety pads while telling kids to “race around the block” and “try new tricks”.
1. – Air Storm Firetek Bow
Topping the list of most dangerous toys for Christmas is another product that lets kids indulge in the violent nature of humanity for kicks and giggles. This bow is capable of firing glowing projectiles up to 145 feet, resulting in the manufacturer, Zing, recommending that the “arrows should not be pulled back more than half strength” – a warning that’s seems more like a dare for kids.
Amusingly, Zing also cautions that the glowing arrows, apparently designed for the night, shouldn’t be used in complete darkness, insinuating that it’s alright for kids to run around and play fight in a pitch black room as long as they don’t fire the bow. The Air Storm Firetek Bow retails for $15.00 to $24.97 on Amazon and at Walmart, and should not be aimed at humans or animals unless Santa says so.