Dangers in the toy box, Part 2

Dec. 08, 2012 @ 11:50 AM

Those without short-term memory loss attributed to a steel-tipped lawn dart accident as a child may recall last week's column on the top 10 "worst toys" of 2012 from the consumer Group World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH), which has been releasing its annual naughty list since 1973.
If any of these dangerous toys are under the Christmas tree, according to the group, you might as well hand a hyperactive six-year-old a four-pack of Red Bull and a machete.
To recap, last week we covered the first five worst toys on the list:
1. Magnetic Fishing Game. (Bad.)
2. Bongo Ball. (Worse.)
3. Dart Zone Quick Fire 12 Dart Gun. (I want one.)
4. Spinner Shark 4-Wheel Kneeboard. (I want one but I would immediately crack my skull and my insurance deductable is ridiculous.)
5. Explore & Learn Helicopter. (Woefully inaccurate because it is not equipped with Hellfire missiles.)
WATCH insists all of these toys, available online and at major retailers, have the potential for harm, much like the traditional children's toys "rock" and "stick," which are available outside.
And now, part two of WATCH's 2012's "worst toys."
6. N-Force Vendetta Double Sword.
What's more awesome than one sword? The answer to that age-old question is two swords formed into a "Megablade" to "arm yourself for the ultimate battle experience..." and that's what the N-Force Vendetta Double Sword is, according to the manufacturer.
WATCH, though, fears the risk outweighs the awesomeness of a Megablade.
"(It) has the potential to cause facial or other impact injuries," the group writes.
Yes, but only if used correctly.
7. Water Balloon Launcher.
WATCH finds a lot of things wrong with a toy that can shoot water balloons "at high speeds of up to 75 miles per hour."
("Dear Santa, I know I said I wanted the Dart Zone Quick Fire 12 Dart Gun for Christmas, but I have changed my mind. Instead, I would like the 75-mph Water Balloon Launcher. And you might as well bring the neighbor across the street a new storm door. - Love, Scott.")
8. Power Rangers Super Samurai Shogun Helmet.
The pointed, rigid tips of the crown on this helmet can cause puncture wounds, according to WATCH.
The manufacturer does include a warning on the package. "Caution: This toy is not a safety protective device."
That limits this kind of parent-child exchange:
"Where are you going, Kyle?"
"To the playground with my N-Force Vendetta Double Sword for the ultimate battle experience."
"Then wear your protective Power Rangers Super Samurai Shogun Helmet, young man."
"Come on, Ma, none of the other guys wear a protective Power Rangers Super Samurai Shogun Helmet."
9. Playful Xylophone.
It's basically two drum sticks and several blocks of wood and metal fashioned into xylophones.
WATCH fears the consequences of toddlers gnawing on the drumsticks but the real danger is that parents will have to listen to endless xylophone banging until they have no other alternative than to shoot themselves in the face with a 75-mph water balloon just to stop the madness.
10. The Avengers Gamma Green Smash Fists.
WATCH writes, "These oversized fists, resembling those of a popular Marvel comic book and movie character, are sold to enable three year olds to 'be incredible like The Hulk' by 'smashing everything that gets in [their] way!'"
WATCH says the packaging for the giant plastic Smash Fists carries no warning.
As a public service, I have written one: "Warning - parents, if you buy your child Smash Fists for Christmas, guess what? He's going to smash stuff. He's going to smash the TV, the dog, Kyle on the playground during the ultimate battle experience, the minivan, his baby brother who won't quit playing that infernal xylophone, anything that can be smashed, he will smash it with The Avengers Gamma Green Smash Fists."
Use only as directed.

• Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, NC and a humor columnist. Contact him at rhollifield@mcdowellnews.com.