The 10 Worst Toys For 2007

Boston-based World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc., or W.A.T.C.H., has announced its top-10 list of the worst toys you can buy kids this Christmas. This is a rather pointless year for a list like this, considering the massive expansion of the Unsafe Toy Industry; in fact, the first item on their list was recalled back in October for lead paint. Still, there are some fun discoveries on the list, like “Sticky Stones,” small piles of easy-to-eat magnets, and the “Spider Man 3 New Goblin Sword,” because its “spring-loaded blade expands to more than 3 feet long, creating the potential for facial injuries.” If they could just combine the Goblin Sword with the Oozinator, we’d have a Dateline special on our hands.

Also making the list is something called “B’loonies,” which is yet another variation of that weird tube of plastic goo you squeeze onto a straw and then blow to form sturdy, long-lasting bubbles. As W.A.T.C.H. points out, the substance is highly flammable and should probably not be part of a kid’s toy—although we remember playing with this product all the time and enjoying the mildly gasoline-scented odor. Ah, to be young and a huffer!

2007 “10 Worst Toys” List [W.A.T.C.H. via Boston.com]

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  1. MercuryPDX says:

    As a kid who grew up with lawn darts, I’m sorely disappointed about the toys on this list. Kids these days have no idea what playing with true danger is. ;)

  2. Shadowman615 says:

    I guess the aquapets were finally taken off the shelves.

    You can still find ‘em on ebay…
    [search.ebay.com]

  3. darkened says:

    These things make me laugh, OMG A PLAY SWORD POTENTIAL FOR IMPACT INJURIES ON NOEZZZZZ

    When i was a kid we used to battle with broom sticks and nunchucks made from hand carve wood connected with metal chain. And plastic swords causing injuries? Good lord what are we teaching kids these days, they’re kids! They need to get hurt! Repeatedly, or they won’t learn anything about life.

  4. mexifelio says:

    My vote goes for the sticky stones:

    Swallowed magnets can stick together across intestines causing serious infections and death….

    That is just so severely wrong.

  5. Parapraxis says:

    Ever tried hooking up one of those water slip and slides to the stairs?

    yeah, my childhood was fraught with peril.

  6. mindshadow says:

    As a kid who played with broom handles with knifes taped on the end, I’m disturbed by the pussification of our youth.

  7. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    This is like that old “Consumer Probe” skit on SNL with Dan Akroyd. I wanna know where “Johnny Switchblade” or the “Bag ‘o Glass” is on that list. :)

  8. MercuryPDX says:

    @mindshadow: whoa… homemade lawn darts. Dude… HARD-CORE! :)

  9. nweaver says:

    I miss lawn darts…

  10. MercuryPDX says:

    @Shadowman615: I actually gave those out for office Holiday grab bag gifts one year. I came across mine in a drawer at home and the water had gone all discolored.

    I will also never forget when one of my co-workers commented on how much it looked like one of her sex toys she hides under her bed at home. Never saw it like that before, but now that’s ALL I think of when I look at them.

  11. kwsdurango says:

    @Pinkbunnyslippers: Ha – I was also going to mention the Dan Akroyd / SNL skit with the “Bag ‘o Glass.” Nice one…

  12. savvy999 says:

    @MercuryPDX: LOL. My father has a strange addiction to collecting and playing lawn darts. He has at least a dozen sets gathered from friends and yard sales ever since they were banned.

    I think it’s some sort of Greatest-Generation way of ‘sticking-it-to-the-man’, when he proudly trots out his crate full of lethal lawn armaments every 4th of July.

    Neighborhood mothers clutch their children in horror; one would think by the looks on their faces that my Dad had just brought out a basket of rattlesnakes for the kiddies to play with; the neighborhood dads’ eyes narrow with hardly hidden envy.

  13. Cheve says:

    Jesus, i can’t believe no bicycle (or skateboard, or R/C airplane, or….anything) made this list, can you imagine how dangerous a bicycle is? you can go really fast! you can fall! you can die! i say come on people, let’s not go that way, there’s no turning back -i’m kind of ok with the lead stuff and totally agree with the meth little balls, but come on, a sword that springs…it’s suposed to spring you sissy piece of crap! anybody doing ANY sport is 10 times as likely to get injured…watch out for tennis ball, they have no warning!!!they might hit you! Oh my god run run run!!!

    I don’t like this list…

  14. backbroken says:

    And yet we are amazed when 16 year old Johnny, behind the wheel for the first time, drives as if he is invisible.

    I agree that any toy that contains poison should not be sold. However, most of these toys have an age-appropriate warning on them. At some point, parental supervision and personal responsibility (a 7 year old should know not to eat a freaking magnet) should come into play.

    At some point in the future, all homes will be sold with a completely padded room, (padding made out of anti-bacterial material, natch) lockable from the outside, into which we will be required to place our children.

    When my child gets a toy, the first thing I do is look at it to determine what can be swallowed, can cut, or otherwise hurt him. Please everyone, do the same and don’t rely on recalls. And teach your 7 year old not to swallow magnets.

  15. backbroken says:

    Oops. ‘Invisible’ was supposed to be ‘invincible.’ Duh.

  16. mopar_man says:

    @MercuryPDX, mindshadow and darkened:

    Sounds like we all shared a similar childhood. I also played “guns” with my brother and friends.

  17. smitty1123 says:

    So, aside from something round or liquid, what doesn’t have the potential to put someones eye out?

  18. ogremustcrush says:

    @backbroken: When I was 16 years old and behind the wheel for the first time, I drove as if I was invisible. I avoided all traffic, because I didn’t realize that they would see me and let me move into lanes or turn. I cumulatively wasted hours waiting to turn…

  19. MameDennis says:

    Oh, come ON, Bloonies? Really?

    Although this kind of makes me want to buy some to set them on fire. Y’know, for Science.

  20. Myron says:

    Just give your kid a pack of matches and some old newspaper and send him outside. That’s good for hours of fun.

  21. mexifelio says:

    @SMITTY1123 liquid could put your eye out if it was first frozen, and i guess technically a round bb could really put your eye out.

  22. Man, I miss whiling away the long afternoons in the backyard with my L’il Bandsaw playset. Then there were hours of fun to be had with my Car Battery ‘n’ More electronics kit.

    But possibly the best toy that’d be banned today was the “Pile ‘o’ Painted Tires with Exposed Bolts” sticking through the treads.

  23. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    These people really do seem pretty silly after the lead-paint scandals, don’t they? I mean, lawn darts are one thing (basically crossbow bolts with oversize vanes), but I used to play around with that plastic goop all the time, and only got a little high off of it. Face it, if all that kids played with were cardboard boxes and cardboard tubes from wrapping paper, these killjoys would be squealing about how cardboard is flammable and you could put an eye out if you pinched one end of a tube into a point and really put your back into it.

  24. Dave_Surfs says:

    BB’s are fine as long as you wear ski goggles and duct tape cookie sheets to your chest and back…(I promise I won’t pump it more than 3 times ;) heh…heh…)

    Let’s not forget Roman candle fights, bottle rockets shot out of a small pipe at each other, and the occasional thunderous “THA-WUMP” of a potato canon.

    magnets and balloons??? C’mon…

  25. CrazyRedd says:

    Exactly, like a lot of commenters here, I remember my childhood (80′s) being filled with fun but also a little danger…from things like the rusty chain links in the swingsets that could pinch you to the possibility of splinters when playing on wooden equipment. You definitely don’t see the latter anymore; everything’s been replaced by these bright plastic and powder-coated steel things that have absolutely no sharp corners. Isn’t this how we all developed common sense as children?

  26. tkozikow says:

    I am quietly amazed that so many of us who grew up in the 60s and 70s are still alive after playing with such patently dangerous toys, many of which, as noted previously, were handmade (knife on end of broom stick – classic!).

    I applaud the efforts of the CPSC, W.A.T.C.H. and other groups to make sure that manufacturers do not intentionally harm children, but I think that a lot of this is overkill and with a little supervision most of these toys are really not all that bad.

    This list does, however, make me want to go out and buy some of that balloon goo and set them on fire.

  27. Electroqueen says:

    “one of the most awesome weapons ever wielded by human hands!”
    I concur that’s the nunchaku.

    Since when are weapons toys?!!!! Stupid Americans.

  28. This list does, however, make me want to go out and buy some of that balloon goo and set them on fire.

    I don’t know whether the bubble stuff is even, actually, any more flammable than the plastic tube you blow it up with. It might be, but the W.A.T.C.H. page warning of the terrible danger of “…chemicals such as ‘poly vinyl acetate’….” does not fill me with confidence about their scientific knowledge.

    Polyvinyl acetate, PVA, is standard white wood glue; it’s non-toxic and non-flammable.

    And W.A.T.C.H.’s complaint about the Rubber Band Shooter is that… it shoots rubber bands. Which, apparently, can “cause serious eye injuries”.

    Well, maybe if you shoot someone in the eye at zero range. But even then, I suspect the victim would be fine after a few days.

  29. catskyfire says:

    Also on the Watch list : The Stick. Used by kids for generations, this easily accessible item has been used to simulate firearms, swords, knives, spears and other weapons. It has a high chance of eye injury as well as blunt force trauma. Perforation risk is also an aspect, either from falling upon the item or, more commonly, the item being improperly treated. (See – Splinters).

    Do not let your child play with this dangerous toy!

  30. target_veteran says:
  31. @target_veteran:

    “I’ve heard some pretty stupid shit in my time, but that has to take the cake,” said Dr. Anderson Hunt, the attending physician. “Why would any kid think he could fire plastic missiles up his nose and expect them to come out his belly button? There’s no point in feeling bad about this child’s demise, because the deck was obviously stacked against him from the start. What we should feel bad about is the fact that because of him, millions of other children will no longer get to fire the RoboFighter’s super-cool Devastator Missiles or soak their friends with its FunFoam WaterBlasters.”

    From The Onion.

  32. @CrazyRedd: I had a GI Joe helicopter which, when the orange covers were removed from the ends of the rotor blades, was pretty much a spinning wheel of death. Now the funny thing is I made it through childhood with all of these toys unharmed, but lost my front teeth in a pool toy accident 4 years ago when I was 25.

  33. MercuryPDX says:

    @King of the Wild Frontier: …these killjoys would be squealing about how cardboard is flammable and you could put an eye out if you pinched one end of a tube into a point and really put your back into it.

    Sweet Jeebus the danger from a papercut alone! It could get infected and poor little Johnny would be an amputee before age 9!

  34. scarletvirtue says:

    @MercuryPDX: Definitely! Jarts were some of the most deranged and brilliant toys *ever*.

    I’m also bored with this whole “protect The Children (TM) from themselves BS.” Kids are kids, they’re gonna play in the mud, turn sticks into guns and chase each other around with plastic screwdrivers from those Little Tykes/Fisher-Price tool kits.

    Oh wait … that was my childhood. Kids now are too busy playing videogames to actually get hurt.

  35. scarletvirtue says:

    @pinkbunnyslippers: Oh SNL in the good days – that sketch was awesome. And who could forget the all-black Halloween costume?

  36. @scarletvirtue: Wasn’t there one that was a big lighter and a can of gas/lighter fluid? It was like the Junior Human Torch?

  37. MariSama44 says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one totaly disgusted by this. I mean, come on. My dad gave me a pocket knife to play with when I was a little girl. Most the toys I had were probably considered dangerous, and the choking hazard cop out is one of the most redicioulous things I’ve ever heard…If you’re giving a toy for older kids to a 3 year old then not giving it supervision, you’re a bad parent. Toys like that should be administered when there is supervision. And if your older kid is stupid enough to eat two magnets, then I’m sorry but your DNA doesn’t deserve to be in the gene pool. Its called natural selection. Quit eliminating it.

  38. jadbalja says:

    @gitemstevedave

    It was a lighter and a bag of oily rags, and was called Johnny Human Torch

    My favorite was an all-black outfit and hood called Johnny Invisible Pedestrian…

  39. BlackestRose says:

    I dunno about this list. As a parent, I appreciate information about toys with hazards I can’t see, like the lead in the rescue boat. But I hope that I’m smart enough to figure out that if I buy a rubber band gun, my kid is likely to shoot someone in the face or if I give my kid a dagger, it’s likely to puncture some skin.

    For a better list I’d look at:

    [www.uspirg.org]

  40. Myron says:

    Of course, those of us alive and posting here have a survivorship bias.

    [en.wikipedia.org]

  41. LadyNo says:

    @MercuryPDX: My mother likes to give weird toys in our stockings at Christmas, and one year I got an Aquapet. It’s still sitting on my credenza two years later, and lots of my coworkers comment on how phallic it is. I always make sure to give good old mom credit for the penis toy.

  42. JayXJ says:

    We used to shoot each other with bottle rockets and Roman candles playing war. I can’t get worked up about giving my kids plastic swords.

  43. scarletvirtue says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: Yes! I’d forgotten about that one.

  44. wring says:

    I want some bloonies! in the third world, we call them ‘plastic balloons’ and they come in toothpaste-lookin aluminum tubes. the trick is to roll the stuff around the end of a small pipe and make sure it’s all round by rolling it in your mouth and lubricating it with spit. good times.

  45. Crazytree says:

    it looks like several of those toys were banned for being TOO AWESOME.

  46. mindshadow says:

    @MercuryPDX: Thanks. :P

    @mopar_man: Yes, I did too. Started with BB guns and upgraded from there. Ever since I moved to the city I haven’t had a chance to get with my friends for target practice though. It’s a shame.

    Oh, and I also had a real strange tendency to light a lot of things on fire and make napalm when I was 11-12′ish. Those were fun times.

  47. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    I had the rubber band repeater shooter with space for 10 bands. I usually aimed for the neck… I remember rolling down my 30 degree driveway on my bigwheel. Stopping about oh 3 feet from the street. I remember building forts in trees and throwing rocks and sticks at girls who came by..Ahh good times, good times.

  48. bbbici says:

    Yeah, we played (and shot eachother) with pellet guns, jumped off houses, threw molotov cocktails, etc. But really, can that compare to some of the crazy stuff kids do these days, like skateboarding and skiing on handrails, wwf-style wrestling, crystal meth, etc?

  49. myls says:

    I look forward to this list every year because it gives me great ideas for Christmas presents for my somewhat destructive family. Rubber band shooters it is!

  50. Bunnymuffin says:

    LOL, what idiot thinks that the words “spinning” and “dagger” together means safety for baby Becky? I’m so getting a Jack Sparrow Spinning Dagger O’ Death now.

  51. jacobchiong says:

    One of my favorite game as a kid was shooting beans at each other. We use a short length of bamboo or any stiff tube, grab a handful of beans, put in a mouthful of these unwashed beans in our mouths, then blow them out through the bamboo at our friends. They come shooting out quite rapidly one after another and if one hits you, it stings like hell.

    Another game was devised using home-made darts. We break some of our mother’s hair pins in two (those cheap black straight clips), sharpen one end and stick the other end into a clothes pin and tie it with a rubber band. Then holding the pin end, we can throw with a flip of our wrist and it will stick and stay on any tree trunk.

    And come festive days we will disassemble fireworks to pool the gunpowder together, then light them. Always end up with tiny holes in our new store-bought clothes. Or we cover the larger fire crackers with an empty tin, light the fuse and see how high the tin will fly when the stuff goes off.

    Or we challenge each other to see who can hold on to a fire cracker after the fuse is lit. Many times they go off whilst we were hold them. And doing this even when there were reports of kids’ fingers getting blown off.

    Yeah, those were the good old days.

  52. @jadbalja: But remember, it is NOT for blind kids. They wrote it in big letters on the package, so they can’t say they weren’t warned.

  53. Noremakk says:

    W.A.T.C.H. OUT! “Hip Hoppa ‘Til You Droppa!” is the catch phrase for a toy consisting of a foot board atop an inflatable “high energy” ball. A hand grip with an adjustable strap attaches to the bouncy ball.
    Hmm, sounds like a pogo stick.
    Children are encouraged to stand on the base and, while holding the handle tight and keeping the strap taut, “immediately start hopping”. The instructions also caution that improper dismount will result in “loss of balance and possible injury.”
    Pogo stick again… Am I noticing a pattern?

    This toy is just an easier-to-use pogo stick. Why is this on the list? Or, better yet, why are pogo sticks not on the list?

  54. rjlewis74 says:

    I know i played with some questionable toys when i was a little one. Hell we didnt even need dangerous toys. We just did dangerous things. Not because we wanted to be dangerous but because we were stupid. BB gun fights, Jumping off of the roof of the house, to name a few. Its all trial and error. I think kids need dangerous things to play with. It builds character.

  55. backbroken says:

    My favorite 2 words when I was young….ROCK BATTLE.

    Grab a garbage can lid and a hand full of rocks and meet me in Alex’s back yard.

  56. @Noremakk: The easier to use pogo stick used to just be the rubber ball you stand on. I remember seeing the ad for it and wondering how you kept it from flying off your feet (you couldn’t see the strap in the ads).

  57. nrwf says:

    My childhood was even more dangerous than you babies. I was growing up in the ’50′s. My father MADE our rubberband guns. We were expected to use whatever was at hand for a toy – it was called imagination. We did lots of things no wimpy parent would allow today. I agree that kids need to experiment with a little danger to learn to think ahead. After all, one needs a little pain to remind them that they could get hurt – or even die! The real danger turned out to be adults – brother was killed by a person speeding (50 mph) on a road within a cemetery in a county where ambulances were not allowed to use sirens! I subsequently had 3 kids (in the 80′s) and they managed to do all the imaginative things that normal kids do when denied dangerous toys. Sticks, rubberbands, pea shooters, tricycle and scooter competitions, etc. The last child has grown up into being a (OMG!) pro paintball player. (Other adults give me all kinds of grief about this.) This child NEEDED some kind of supervised danger or he’d really have done himself in somehow! I agree about the gene pool – we’re letting every weak willy live. As harsh as that sounds – survival of the fittest (or luckiest) is being artificially squelched.