BOSTON (Reuters) – A plastic version of comic-book superhero Wonder Woman’s sword and a Spider-Man drone showed up as villains on a U.S. child safety advocacy group’s annual list of potentially hazardous toys.
The group, World Against Toys Causing Harm, released its “10 Worst Toys” list on Tuesday, around the start of the holiday shopping season, with the goal of alerting parents to playthings that could hurt their children.
Besides the sword, which the group warned could cause “blunt-force injuries,” and the drone’s “potential for eye and body impact injuries,” the list includes toys that could appeal to smaller children and contain removable pieces considered a possible choking hazard.
Flying toys, including the drone, and those that shoot projectiles, including toy Nerf guns, have long appeared on the list. While the products’ boxes contain extensive warnings about the dangers of flying items, the group’s executive director, James Swartz, said children could not use them in a safe way.
“Really, look at the packaging,” Swartz said. “Is it realistic to use the product as the manufacturer intends? If the answer is no, it’s better to stay away from it.”
The list also includes several less-obvious threats. Among them: fidget spinners that can break apart, posing a choking hazard; a pull-along pony with a 19 inch (48 cm) cord the group said a small child could strangle on; and a baby doll with removable hair elastics labeled a choking hazard.
Makers of the toys included on the list, including Mattel Inc, which makes the sword; Skyrocket Toys LLC, the drone manufacturer; and Nerf maker Hasbro Inc, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Toy Association views the list as “needlessly frightening,” said Joan Lawrence, the trade group’s senior vice president of safety standards and regulatory affairs.
“We have strong safety standards in this country,” Lawrence said, adding that parents should follow the package’s directions about the age group for which a plaything is suitable.
The association released a survey this month showing 82 percent of parents think the age ranges are merely suggestions. Lawrence urged parents to take them more seriously.
“If you’re going to buy a bicycle … there are instructions on how to safely use the bicycle, like wearing a helmet,” Lawrence said. “We don’t say, ‘Don’t buy the bicycle.’ What we do is find ways to enjoy it safely.”
Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn