These days, it’s constantly debated whether or not helicopter parenting during playtime does more harm than good. But let’s face it, some of the toys I played with as a kid probably shouldn’t have been given to me in the first place. For example, the infamous Moon Shoes (A.K.A ankle breaking death traps), the Slip ‘n Slide, the Socker Boppers… I mean the list goes on and on.
While most toy manufacturers have become more & more safety conscious over the years, even the 2000’s era had its fair share of, shall we say, mishaps. Let’s look back at some of the most dangerous toy mishaps ever recorded during the 2000’s — some of which are sure to blow your mind!
- The Razor Scooter: Even though I loved my Razor scooter back in the day, I definitely remember taking a few hard spills and having some close encounters with oncoming traffic. Without a doubt, these things are dangerous. Introduced in the year 2000, the Razor Scooter sent 110,000 kids to the emergency room in 2001 alone. What baffles me even more is the fact that Razor came out with another model in 2009 that shoots sparks out of the back… because you know, only good things can come of that!
- The Blast Balls: In 2001, Super Bang introduced the ‘Blast Balls’ which were two colorful balls that kids could smack together to hear a cap-gun-like noise and occasionally see some sparks… and, that’s it. Now as riveting as that sounds, they were only on the market for a short time before the first few reports of burn injuries and clothing catching fire began to surface. The Blast Balls ultimately led a very brief shelf life.
- The Inflatable Baby Boat: One would think if you are releasing a product designed to keep small children afloat, you would make sure it actually works. Apparently Aqua-Leisure didn’t feel the same obligation as their 2002 Inflatable Baby Boat posed a great risk of drowning. I’m sorry, what?! According to the CPSC, the leg strap in the seat of the baby boats were subject to tearing. While there were multiple reports of babies falling through the boat and into the water, none were seriously injured as a result.
- The Kite Tube: Um, no thank you. Discounting the fact that I have a fear of being way too high and suddenly plunging to my death, nothing good can come from a slogan that reads, “Never Kite Higher Than You Are Willing To Fall.” After less than a year of being on the market, 2 deaths and 39 serious injuries were reported. A broken neck, a punctured lung, fractures to the chest and back, and facial lacerations were amongst the reported injuries. At no surprise, the Kite Tube was recalled in June 2006. Shucks!
- Magnetix: This one makes my stomach turn. A toy aged for kids 3 and up, numerous cases were reported of children separating the building pieces and swallowing the “mega magnetic power” magnets. If more than one magnet is ingested, they would likely attract to each other inside the intestines and tear the intestinal wall or cause blockage, which can be fatal if not treated immediately. After its release in 2005, Magnetix became responsible for 1 child’s death, 1 aspiration, and 27 intestinal injuries with emergency surgery needed in all but 1 case. For very good reason, the toy was recalled in 2006.
- The Easy Bake Oven: I remember my first easy bake oven! They were so much fun to play with and made you feel all grown up, that is until you had the pleasure of burning yourself like I did, multiple times. In May 2006, Hasbro released a model that was by far its worst. The pink and purple oven made a habit out of trapping children’s fingers in the front opening and burning them. There were 29 reports of children getting their hands or fingers caught, 1 needing a partial finger amputation due to severe burns. Yikes!
- The CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit: In 2007, CBS released the CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit which gave kids a chance to be real-life forensic investigators! Little did they know the dust included to analyze fingerprints contained up to 7% of one of the deadliest forms of Asbestos, a hazardous mineral fiber that is capable of causing lung cancer later in life from a single exposure. Now imagine all the kids that brushed the toxic dust all over their houses, on every doorknob and every counter top — the toy manufacturer is now bankrupt, as they should be.
- Aqua Dots: Named the 2007 toy of the year, Aqua Dots consisted of tiny beads that could be assembled into different designs and set permanently with just a drop of water. While it sounds harmless, reports surfaced quickly of children swallowing the beads, then later becoming dizzy and vomiting numerous times before slipping into a comatose state. WHAT?! The glue coating on the beads that is activated by water contained chemicals that metabolized into gamma-hydroxybutyrate — otherwise known as the date rape drug. Aqua Dots was on the market for less than 8 months before being recalled.
- The Colossal Water Balls: 2010’s Colossal Water Balls looked and felt just like candy, so it should have come as no surprise that kids would attempt to swallow them! When the marble-sized toy is ingested, it could expand inside a child’s body to over 400x its original size, leading to severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration, even death. Impossible for doctors to see in an x-ray, the balls could only be surgically removed. They were taken out of stores everywhere in 2012.
- The Bouncy House: Let’s face it — these things are pretty awesome. The Bouncy House has become a staple for kid parties since its debut in the late 1960’s and continues to increase in popularity. Only until recently has the public has begun to realize the risks associated with kids playing in Bouncy Houses. Every day, an average of 31 children are treated in emergency rooms for Bouncy House related injuries. What’s most concerning is in the past 4 years more than 30 people that have been hurt when Bouncy Houses were swept away by strong gusts of wind, two of them severely injured. Watch the video and see for yourself!
“Don’t assume toys are necessarily safe because they are appearing on toy shelves.” – James Swartz, W.A.T.C.H. Group