BOSTON (AP) — Toys with tiny accessories children can choke on, wheeled toys that could lead to falls, and toys that fire projectiles that could possibly injure a child's eyes are among the playthings on an annual “10 Worst Toys" list released Wednesday by a consumer safety advocacy group.
This holiday shopping season, the Boston-based group World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc., or WATCH, urged parents to be particularly vigilant as supply chain issues may cause shortages of some toys, prompting parents to look to alternative sources for purchases.
“The expected toy shortage and the busy holiday shopping season may make some consumers wary of encountering long lines, depleted inventory, and higher prices in retail stores," WATCH said in a statement. “When shopping online or looking to gift gently used toys, some safety considerations may help families and friends make more informed choices."
A child is brought to the emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury, WATCH wrote.
Wheeled toys — including scooters, skateboards and hoverboards — are of particular concern. As the use of wheeled toys grew during the pandemic, so did the number of injuries, the group said.
“Toys like these could be sold without the proper safety gear, marketed with inconsistent safety messages, or provide unrealistic warnings or instructions," WATCH. said.
The Toy Association, which represents more than 900 U.S. toy manufacturers and retailers, said the list is alarmist.
“Each year, W.A.T.C.H.’s ‘worst toys’ list comes out near the holiday season, needlessly frightening parents and caregivers with misinformation in an effort to gain media attention," the Toy Association said in a statement. “What’s important to know is that by law, all toys sold in the United States must first meet 100+ rigorous safety tests and standards before reaching consumers."
The association said parents and other caregivers should always purchase age-appropriate toys from reputable sources, and always supervise children at play.
There were an estimated 198,000 toy-related injuries in the U.S. in 2020, and a reported 51 children died from toy-related accidents from 2018 to 2020, WATCH said, citing Consumer Product Safety Commission data.