Who can forget the days of our childhood, when we’d walk into a toy store and go crazy over all the toys we wanted to take home? Of course, we always wanted what our other friends had and those were usually the toys that were most popular or fresh out of the toy factories. But little do we know that just because a toy makes it to a toy store shelf doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe for kids to play with. And unfortunately, we only discover its danger when someone gets harmed while playing with it.
There have been many seemingly harmless toys that were recalled because of factory defects or safety risks. And the manufacturers have had to pay for the blunders big time. That’s why toy companies ought to be vigilant in testing their products’ quality and safety a hundred times over. Or one simple oversight can cause them thousands or even millions of dollars in lawsuits.
Easy Bake Oven
Little girls love to play the part of domesticated divas. That’s why tea sets and cooking sets are their favorite toys. But the Easy Bake Oven became all the rage when it hit the market because it was pink and purple and resembled a kitchen stove built atop an oven. Little girls who had it felt like young Martha Stewarts—until some little ones’ fingers suffered at the toy’s hands. In 2007, there were 29 reports of children whose hands got caught in the product, suffered burns, and in one case, even a partial amputation! As a result, Hasbro had to recall almost one million ovens.
Aqua-Leisure Inflatable Baby Floats
A water toy that can help keep babies afloat is definitely a go-to when taking a dip in the pool or the beach—but not when the toy is a drowning risk! A few years back, Inflatable Baby Floats were swiftly recalled after it was reported that the leg straps of the float’s seat were susceptible to tearing. The child sitting on the float then unexpectedly fell through the seat and underwater, exposing him to drowning. Luckily, of all the reports, none of the children actually drowned, thanks to responsible adult supervision. Still, four million of the products had to be recalled.
Yoyo balls have been around for decades, but this particular yoyo toy sparked a lot of controversy. The stretchy cord caused near-strangulation whenever kids whirled and swung it around in the air. There were at least 17 reports of kids actually blacking out after the cord wrapped around their neck and one girl almost choked to death. Following the reports, Canada and the UK immediately recalled and banned the sale of the Yoyo Ball.
Hang 10 Mini Hammock
What better way to make a kid sleep than by placing him on a hammock and swinging it gently, hoping the rocking motion sends him to lala land? Apparently, these mini hammocks ran the risk of sending the kids to their deaths instead! The product was manufactured in 1984 and though it was affordable, it didn’t include spread bars to hold the hammock bed open. And the result? Kids getting tangled and strangled in the hammocks. One kid even suffered brain damage. 75,000 products were promptly recalled.
Sky Dancers Flying Dolls
To little girls, the Sky Dancers Flying Dolls were everything pretty and dainty, which made them want one post haste. You had to insert the doll by the feet into a launch pad, pull a cord, and send the doll twirling and flying into the air. While it was an amusing toy, it also proved to be deadly. If the doll flew into the face, it broke teeth, almost gouged eyes out, and caused concussions, as reported by 150 customers. The company was fined $400,000 for failing to report the toy’s dangers to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Cabbage Patch Kids Snacktime Kids Doll
Mattel wanted to make a doll that would teach kids how to feed their little siblings, so the Cabbage Patch Kids Snacktime Kids Doll entered the market. The doll had a mechanical jaw that that moved when it was fed the plastic food that came with the package. But it turned out, the doll not only ate the plastic toys; it clamped on kids’ hair and fingers and would not let go! The products were pulled off the shelves and Mattel offered a $40 refund to those who bought them.
CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit
Although the show CSI is for adults, the franchise came up with a fingerprint examination kit meant for kiddie detective wannabes. The kit’s contents included a brush, a pen, papers with the CSI logo, and dusting powder. The warning on the box stated that the kit contained chemicals that might be dangerous, but no one expected this to be in the literal sense. The dusting powder was found to have elements of asbestos, a mineral that causes thousands of deaths and is banned in Europe. Production of the toy was immediately halted and products were pulled off the shelves.
Aqua Dots came in an array of colors and were meant to enhance and develop a kid’s creativity. When sprayed with water, the dots could be put together to make colorful images. But kids being kids, some of the dots were inadvertently swallowed by them—and they ended up vomiting and falling into a coma. Upon investigation, it appeared that the little dots contained a chemical called GHB, which—believe it or not—was a “date rape” drug! Pity that before the discovered defect, the toy had been named toy of the year in Australia.
Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab
At the time the Gilbert Atomic Energy Laboratory set was released in 1950, knowledge of atomic energy was at its infancy and scientists wanted to educate kids about it. Unfortunately, the instructions encouraged the children to search for uranium deposits to get some of the experiments to work. What were the toy makers thinking, exposing children to radioactive material? The manufacturer realized its error and promptly pulled the products off the shelves a year later.
In 2009, Mattel was forced to recall its China-manufactured dolls due to lead paint content. But 10 years prior, its Spanish Barbie was also recalled from the shelves, but not due to potential physical danger. The reason for recall was the outfit of the doll. The Spanish Barbie was decked in a matador costume, which is the outfit the bullfighters wear during the ritual bull ring spectacle, where bulls are hurt and sometimes killed. Animal rights activists felt the doll’s attire inadvertently supported animal cruelty and campaigned to have the toy banned.