PHOTOS: Consumer group releases annual '10 worst toys' for kids - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

PHOTOS: Consumer group releases annual '10 worst toys' for kids list

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Bottle Rocket Party made the list of 10 worst toys this season according to consumer group W.A.T.C.H. Bottle Rocket Party made the list of 10 worst toys this season according to consumer group W.A.T.C.H.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

The "World Against Toys Causing Harm" or W.A.T.C.H., has released their annual "10 Worst Toys" report just in time for holiday shopping. The company has been doing this for 42 years now, and sends out the list every year to remind parents and consumers of the potential hazards in some toys.

Now, immediately my mind went to "Irwin Mainway," the toy salesman played by Dan Aykroyd on Saturday Night Live.

Consumer Reporter: "We'd like to show you another one of Mr. Mainway's products. It retails for $1.98, and it's called Bag O' Glass. Mr. Mainway, this is simply a bag of jagged, dangerous, glass bits."

Irwin Mainway: "Yeah, well, look - you know, the average kid, he picks up, you know, broken glass anywhere, you know? The beach, the street, garbage cans, parking lots, all over the place in any big city. We're just packaging what the kids want! I mean, it's a creative toy, you know? If you hold this up, you know, you see colors, every color of the rainbow! I mean, it teaches him about light refraction, you know? Prisms, and that stuff! You know what I mean?"

The toys released by W.A.T.C.H. aren't exactly bags of glass or "Johnny Switchblade: Adventure Punk," but the consumer group contends they could be harmful to children.

The full list of nominees this year includes:

- "Air Storm Firetek Bow"


W.A.T.C.H. says this light up power bow sends its arrows flying "up to 145 feet!" The toy comes with numerous warnings and is designed for kids 8 and up. Warnings also tell children "arrows should not be pulled back at more than half strength."

- "Ziggle" four-wheeled cycle

This toy is sort of like a tricycle, but it has four wheels and you have to wiggle to make it move. So if nothing else, your child age 3-8 will develop some gnarly core strength. But W.A.T.C.H. doesn't like it because there is a chance of "serious injury if continuous adult supervision" is not followed.

- "Catapencil"

Of all the toys, this one sounds most like a Irwin Mainway product. It's a pencil, but just in case you get the urge to catapult some sharp objects across the room at your best friend Danny who you just noticed checking out Amanda, the girl you totally like, it can do that as well. But W.A.T.C.H. says that sharp object could take Danny's eye out. And they're probably right.

- "Alphabet Zoo Rock & Stack Pull Toy"

Babies can pull along animals with corresponding letters from the alphabet on them (For example the Elephant has an "E" on it. Clever, huh? Babies love it.) W.A.T.C.H. however says the cord that you pull to get the animals to follow you as they rock along has potential to strangle your child.

- "SWAT Electric Machine Gun"

I certainly had "realistic-looking" toy guns when I was a kid, but I also knew not to point it at other people I wasn't playing with, not to point it at police, not to walk around town with it dressed in all black at inappropriate hours, and definitely not to take the orange cap off the tip, to make it even more realistic. Something about my parents talking to me about using it responsibly. I don't know. Anyway, W.A.T.C.H. doesn't like it because "there's no excuse for outfitting children with realistic weapons designed to produce potentially dangerous and unnecessary thrills.

- "Wooden Instruments"


If you're thinking of getting your child started early on becoming the next John Bonham, wait until they're at least able to comprehend the heaviness of "When the Levee Breaks" (at least a year old I'd say). Despite this toy being marketed to children a year and older, W.A.T.C.H. says the 4 1/2" long drumstick "has potential to be mouthed and occlude a child's airway."

- "Bottle Rocket Party"


It sounds like an awesome time. Obviously don't point those party rockets at other people. If you're a kid, you probably should have some adult supervision with this one, as the company recommends. Just make sure your parents provide you with some sort of eye protection, because that's why W.A.T.C.H. doesn't like it. It doesn't come with safety goggles.

- "Lil' Cutesies-Best Friends" doll

W.A.T.C.H. says the little bow attached to your new best friend's head will fall off and could choke your child if they decide to eat it.

- "True Legends Orcs Battle Hammer"

This plastic battle hammer is marketed towards children 3 and over. The battle hammer is almost 2 feet in length, and when swung by the mighty arm of your 3 year old, W.A.T.C.H. says there is the potential for "blunt impact injuries."

- "Colored Hedgehog" plush toy

This colored furry fella is marketed towards children "0+". You can be any age and own this cute little guy. But it must also look delicious because W.A.T.C.H. says the hedgehog's hair will come off and won't melt like cotton candy. They say it will present the potential for "ingestion and aspiration injuries."

"It's not so much about the specific toys. It's about the hazards," James Swartz, the group's director, said at a news conference at the Franciscan Hospital for Children.

"There's no reason, after all these years, we should have toys like this," Swartz said as the group displayed each of the ten toys. "We shouldn't be finding these things for manufacturers. They should be designing them appropriately in the first place."

Some companies don't understand why their products are on the list.

Dr. Penny Norman, who developed ScienceWiz's "Bottle Rocket Party," said she's surprised the company's kit, which includes rocket tubes, stoppers and yellow "caution tape" but not other necessary or recommended items, such as a bicycle pump or safety goggles, made the list.

Norman said the idea for the kits, which have been on the market since about 2005 and retail for around $15, came after doing homemade bottle rocket experiments with children at summer camps and after-school programs in the Berkeley, California, area.

"It's a time-honored event for children," Norman said of launching the water or baking soda-and-vinegar-powered rockets. "But it isn't about children being set loose to play with them on their own. It's absolutely about adults running a bottle rocket party event safely."

Meanwhile, the Toy Industry Association said American toy safety standards "remain the most protective in the world."

Looking through this year's nominees, it's easy to understand why some are on the list, and not so easy to understand with others, but in my opinion, it all boils down to simply informing your children of the dangers and warnings of their toys, and making sure they are using them responsibly. 

What do you think? Are these toys dangerous to children or should parents just teach their kids about using them responsibly? Let us know on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KHQLocalNews

*PHOTOS Courtesy of W.A.T.C.H. via press release.*

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