World Against Toys Causing Hazards (W.A.T.C.H.) has just published its 2019 “Top 10” list of most dangerous toy “nominees” in time for holiday buying. (I’m not sure an actual vote is ever taken, but they still call them “nominees”) . As in the previous 47 years the choking hazards of small parts, the presence of long strings or wires with strangulation potential, and potential eye injuries from flying parts caused several toys to be listed. Here is a summary of some of the more interesting toys . Pictures of the toys and more details are available on the WATCH website.
NERF Ultra One– “furthest flying NERF dart ever” ; 120 feet – potential eye injuries
YETI – a”cuddle” toy with easily pulled out long hairs that can be ingested or cause ligatures around fingers, toes, and other protuberant organs.
NICKELODEON FROZEN TREAT SLIME – Made with a variety of hazardous chemicals, it has a DO NOT EAT label on the package, but looks like mint chocolate chip, berry smoothies, and soft serve.
ANSTOY ELECTRIC TOY GUN-
(no further comment necessary on this realistic looking submachine gun)
POWER RANGERS ELECTRONIC CHEETAH CLAW– “Use the strength of the claw to take on enemies. . . but don’t hit or swing at people.”
WATCH added an additional caution about buying toys online, which they predict to be about 60% of total toys bought this holiday season. An analysis of over 2000 toys on Amazon revealed that 64% did not have the choking hazard warnings that the same toys did on Target.com.
The independent federal Consumer Product Safety Commission logged 257,000 toy-related injuries in 2017. “One child is treated in a U.S. emergency room every 3 minutes for a toy-related injury.” (That child must be really accident-prone and very tired – drum roll of rim shots!) In the last two years over 1.2 million toy units were recalled after lead paint poisonings, lacerations, or strangulations. However, toys are getting safer. In 2008 the CSPC issued 172 recalls (not units) while there were only 12 recalls in 2019.
The Toy Association, a toy industry trade group that represents most of the toy makers named on the list, dismissed the annual list as misleading. It suggests parents should always purchase toys from reputable stores and online sellers. “By law, all toys sold in the United States must meet 100+ rigorous safety tests and standards,” the organization said in a written statement. That sounds a lot like Dan Ackroyd as the toy salesman pitching a bag of broken glass on a classic SNL Christmas skit. (Ackroyd’s comeback was a pitch to buy an accompanying bag of toy bandaids.)
Additional serious hazards for small children this holiday season are liquid nicotine and marijuana pods for vaping devices.
Delivered in high doses, nicotine can be lethal. Exposure to liquid nicotine found in e-cigarettes has resulted in thousands of calls to poison control centers in recent years. Liquid nicotine poisoning can occur in three ways: by ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through the skin or eyes. For small children, coming into contact with even a small amount of a highly-concentrated liquid nicotine product can be fatal.
The CSPC is responsible for enforcing a key provision of the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015 that requires any nicotine provided in a liquid nicotine container sold, offered for sale, manufactured for sale, distributed in commerce, or imported into the United States to be in “special packaging”. This packaging, in layman’s terms, must be designed to prevent children from accidentally accessing and ingesting liquid nicotine, and must restrict the flow of liquid nicotine under specific conditions.
Though not lethal, yet, concentrated pods of marijuana for vaping devices if ingested by toddlers can cause significant ICU stays for them. The even more concentrated forms of MJ in edible “dabs” (up to 90% THC) can really cause trouble if ingested by toddlers.