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More and more frequently, dangerous, defective toys – and their subsequent recall – continue to make headlines. Although dangerous toys have been produced for decades, some to have hit the market within the last 20 years have been clearly more dangerous, and deadly, than their predecessors – leading to recalls and class actions lawsuits against top toy manufacturers and sellers of these unsafe toys.
The following is LawInfo’s list of the top ten most dangerous recalled toys of the last two decades.
Produced by the Spin Master Corporation, Aqua Dots were small, colorful beads that were part of a multidimensional design craft kit. However, the chemical compound of these beads included the then unknown “date rape” drug gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB).Children who licked and ingested Aqua Dots were subject to respiratory depression, seizures and often became comatose. One child was reportedly hospitalized for five days after swallowing an Aqua Dot. Spin Master Corporation recalled 4.2 million units and suspended the toy from the market in November 2007.
After 12 confirmed fatalities by asphyxiation (of children aged 5-17) and numerous reports of near-death entrapments, these nylon mini hammocks came to be known as “death cocoons.” The culprit behind the flawed design was the lack of spreader bars at either end, which would keep the hammock open when children were swinging and/or resting in them. EZ Sales recalled nearly 3 million of these products and suspended sales indefinitely in August 1996.
These very real motorbikes looked like a shiny motorized toy, but in fact were quite dangerous machines. On certain models, the accelerator jammed and became stuck, leading to crashes and accident-inflicted injuries such as lacerations, sprains and broken bones. Fisher-Price recalled 218,000 Power Wheels motorcycles and took the “toy” off the market in August 2000.
These Barbie-inspired 9-inch hard plastic dolls were designed to fly but lacked reliable controls, thus launching with incredible speed in unpredictable directions. After 150 reported injuries, including temporary blindness, broken ribs and teeth, mild concussions and lacerations, almost 9 million units were recalled by manufacturer Galoob Toys and all sales suspended in June 2000.
Easy-Bake toy ovens have been around since the 1950’s, but this Hasbro model had a clear defect: the front-loading oven would trap tiny hands that were reaching inside of it – inflicting some 77 second – and third-degree burns to children’s hands and fingers, including one 5-year-old girl who required a partial finger amputation. Hasbro recalled the oven and stopped distribution in July 2007.
Jarts (a variable of lawn darts) were heavy, metal projectiles that sharply pierced whatever they struck – including many children. Lawn darts were responsible for 6,700 injuries and four deaths in the 1980’s and were permanently banned (in all varieties) in 1988.
These models from the widely sought-after Cabbage Patch line of the 1980’s and 90’s had automated jaws that would “chew” whatever was placed in its mouth. The problem: the doll didn’t stop chewing. After 35 tiny fingers were reportedly injured by the chomping doll, Mattel removed the dolls from retail shelves in 1997 (although never formally “recalling” the product), and offered 500,000 customers a full refund.
In 1978, Mattel launched a series of Battlestar Galactica toy missile launchers known individually as the Viper, the Cylon Raider, the Scarab and the Stellar Probe. In 1979, a child reportedly died after choking on one of the missile launchers – prompting Mattel to recall all BSG models and suspend production.
Manufactured by Milton Bradley, The Chicken Limbo Party game lacked sturdy support poles, therefore with the slightest touch, the entire apparatus could shake and collapse on participating children (and any bystanders). After 46 reports of the game collapsing and causing subsequent injuries such as bumps, bruises, welts, chipped teeth, and one fractured foot, Milton Bradley recalled 461,000 CLP units and suspended all sales in 2006.
Clackers, which were marketed under a multitude of other names, consisted of two glass-like acrylic balls, each about the size of plum, which swung on either end of a string. The idea was to tug on the middle of the string until the balls swung faster and faster, smacking each other above and below your hand until the motion formed a stunning arc.However, being made of glass, the balls were heavy – leading to numerous reports of injury when they hit children’s faces, and when the balls themselves occasionally shattered, causing lacerations. Clackers were pulled from the shelves in 1981 and, later that year, a mandate was issued that any future product(s) be made with foam balls and nylon cords.
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