Group un­veils list of worst hol­i­day toys

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - NATION & WORLD -

BOS­TON — Fid­get spin­ners, a plas­tic Won­der Woman bat­tle sword and a re­mote-con­trolled Spi­derMan drone are among the toys top­ping a con­sumer safety group’s an­nual list of worst toys for the hol­i­days.

World Against Toys Caus­ing Harm, or WATCH, un­veiled the top 10 list Tues­day at a Bos­ton chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal.

The non­profit group has been re­leas­ing the lists for more than four decades to in­form con­sumers about po­ten­tial toy haz­ards.

The Toy As­so­ci­a­tion, an in­dus­try trade group, dis­missed the list as “need­lessly fright­en­ing” to par­ents be­cause toys sold in the U.S. meet “rig­or­ous” safety stan­dards. It also crit­i­cized the or­ga­ni­za­tion for not test­ing the toys it­self.

Na­tional toy safety stan­dards are “in­ad­e­quate,” as can been seen by the num­ber of re­calls each year, WATCH Pres­i­dent Joan Siff said.

The non­profit said there have been at least 15 re­calls rep­re­sent­ing nearly 2 mil­lion units of dan­ger­ous toys since De­cem­ber.

Siff stressed that the toys named each year have com­mon haz­ards the group sees year after year. She pointed to the “Pull Along Pony” by Tolo Toys that’s mar­keted for chil­dren over age 1 but has a 19-inch cord.

“We don’t need a test­ing lab to know that’s a stran­gu­la­tion and en­tan­gle­ment haz­ard,” she said.

With con­sumers in­creas­ingly do­ing their hol­i­day shop­ping on­line, it’s more im­por­tant than ever to have the most cur­rent in­for­ma­tion about the safety of a toy on­line, Siff said.

For ex­am­ple, Hall­mark’s Dis­ney-themed “Itty Bit­tys” plush stack­ing toy for ba­bies was re­called over the sum­mer due to fab­ric pieces that posed a chok­ing haz­ard. But the toy still is avail­able on­line be­cause many web sales — par­tic­u­larly con­sumer-to-con­sumer and sec­ond­hand trans­ac­tions — are rarely mon­i­tored for re­calls, Siff noted.

PHILIP MARCELO/AP

WATCH di­rec­tor James Swartz uses Nerf ’s “Zom­bie Strike” cross­bow, which the non­profit says poses a safety haz­ard.

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