Group unveils list of worst holiday toys
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.
WATCH director James Swartz uses Nerf ’s “Zombie Strike” crossbow, which the nonprofit says poses a safety hazard.