Top 10 Worst Toy Recalls

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Ah, nothing like a nice recall of millions of toys to completely wreck your corporate reputation. Parents tend to not appreciate when you endanger the lives of their special little snowflakes, you know! And then they tell 20 of their friends how bad your company sucks.

Below are the 10 worst toy recalls of recent years. One wasn’t recalled but it’s not something we’d recommend for your special little snowflake.

10. Yo Yo Ball

Why: Children had an unfortunate tendency to strangle themselves with the stretchy cord.

Yo Yo Ball

The Yo Yo Ball looks like such fun! And it was very popular in the early 2000s (I actually remember this one). Unfortunately, there were more than 400 reports of near-strangulation of little kids with the happy Yo Yo Ball. Apparently they would somehow wrap the stretchy cord around their throats. Consumer Reports stated it knew of at least 17 cases of kids blacking out because of Yo Yo Ball.

One girl almost choked herself to death with Yo Yo Ball while performing ‘The Helicoptor’ – swinging it over her head (then around her throat). After that incident, the Canadian and UK governments said ‘screw this’ and banned the thing.

FYI – If you want to live dangerously, you can still find a few on eBay!

9. Mattel Toys

Why: Millions of Mattel toys were recalled because of dangerous lead paint and child-choking magnets.

Barbie

There were about nine million toys from Mattel that were recalled in 2007 because of excessive lead. These toys were made in China. Turns out that the Chinese like to use very deadly and illegal lead paint on some of the toys they make. There also was a recall for some toys because of magnets used in the products. Apparently they were easy for little ones to swallow and choke to death. The Mattel recall came just after a Fisher-Price infant toy recall involving lead paint, too. One child died from lead poisoning and about 20 needed surgery to get magnets out of their gullets. All in all, a real cluster$#$% on the public relations front for Chinese toy manufacturers.

8. Aqua Dots

Why: The toy coating had a chemical that after it metabolized, turns into a date rape drug. Yes. Seriously.

Aqua Dots

The Chinese sure can get themselves in some hot water. In 2007, US safety officials had to recall over 4 million Chinese-made Aqua Dots because there was a chemical in them that made kids puke and even fall into comas when swallowing them.

The Aqua Dots had a chemical that when metabolized, would turn into the drug GHB, a drug very popular with date rapists. It’s also known as gamma-hydroxy butyrate. GHB in low doses causes feeling of euphoria and in high doses, comas and seizures. Three kids in Australia were hospitalized from ingesting Aqua Dots.

7. Clackers

Why: Look, you’re swinging two heavy plastic balls on the end of two strings. Why do you think?!

Clackers

Oh, the 70s. What a great time to be a kid. You could play with all sorts of fun, very dangerous toys and no one said a word. Well, okay….I have to say, Clackers was a very bad idea.

Actually, this product was NOT recalled. Hard to believe. These heavy balls smacked into kids’ faces, broke teeth, bruised noses and cheek bones. Also, sometimes the string would break and Clacker would become a projectile. Also, sometimes the balls shattered. There were safety warnings galore, but no recall.

These days, you can still buy them! However, they are made from slightly safer shatterproof materials and nylon cords. Nostalgia aside, I’ll pass.

6. Easy-Bake Oven

Why: Sometimes Easy-Bake Oven would easily bake little ones’ hands.

Easy Bake Oven

Easy-Bake, a division of Hasbro, recalled about 1,000,000 Easy-Bake ovens in 2007 because children could stick their hands inside the opening of the oven. This would cause their hands or fingers to get stuck. There were 30 reports of burns, and one little girl lost a finger.

5. Skippy Pool Toys

Why: Any toy these days that is supposed to be used like a sling shot is a bad idea.

Skippy

Kids were supposed to launch the plastic fish across the water by pulling the tongue of the fish. It would sometimes break. This would cause injuries to the hands and sometimes even torn fingers and thumbnails.

4. Hang 10 Mini Hammock

Why: This little kids’ hammock would suddenly collapse and string your kid up like a marionette.

Hang 10 Mini Hammock

Sleeping in a hammock isn’t supposed to be a deadly pastime, but it was for 12 children between 1984 and 1995. The problem was that these little hammocks did not come with spreader bars to keep the hammock bed open. This meant that the child could get it twisted around his or her neck when getting in or out. Some children were nearly strangled to death and at least one suffered brain damage.

A total of 75,000 of these little death traps were recalled. Also, 10 other manufacturers recalled similar products, with a total recall number of over 3 million.

3. Pokeballs from Burger King

Why: Took us a sec to understand this one: Little ones could somehow stick half the ball on their face and suffocate. Leave it to a kid to figure out how to do that.

Poke Balls

During the Pokeman craze in the 1990s, Burger King started to put Pokeman action figures in their kiddie meals. Great idea! What wasn’t so great was to stick the figure in a little Pokeball container. We still don’t really get it, but several small children almost died when they somehow stuck half the ball to their face, covering the nose and mouth. We think the 3” in diameter size was the problem here.

It’s hard to really blame Burger King on this one. But we do blame them for offering a free small French fry in exchange for the Pokeball to draw them back in the restaurant.

25 million of these little fun death balls were recalled. That’s a lot of French fries.

2. Sky Dancers Flying Dolls

Why: The fun flying dolls liked to fly into teeth, eyes, torsos, groins and so forth.

Sky Dancers

The Sky Dancer Flying Doll just sounds like a bad idea from the get go. The idea was to insert your doll into a launcher feet first, pull a cord and launch the flying doll into the sky. Sadly, the flying doll flew into children’s eyes and teeth. Galoob Toys received 150 injury reports including temporary blindness, concussion, broken ribs, broken teeth and face lacerations.

Worse, the company decided to not report these items to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Bad idea to mess with those people. They were fined $400,000 and their company was largely ruined.

1. Jarts

Why: You have to be kidding.

Jarts

Jarts are the Granddaddy of Toy Recalls. These little monsters caused 7,000 injuries and 4 deaths in the 70s and 80s. Original Jarts were heavily weighted so they would stick in the ground. This feature would also cause them to stick in faces, eyes and guts. The idea of the game was to throw them underhanded at targets on the ground. It sounds like some kids – surprise – were doing other things with them.

All lawn dart games were banned in the US in 1988 by the CPSC.

List by Joseph Pickett


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29 Comments

  1. Come on now, Clackers?
    So why don’t we ban baseball and little league? Kids get teeth nocked out and other injuries while wearing protective pads.
    Why are we so quick to ban something that results in a few injuries but ignore something that injures a lot more kids?
    This world is screwed up.
    Don’t get me started on hockey.

    • Well, one could argue about the fun/usefullness/tradition of a toy or sport against its dangers. I think such a comparison would show up that clackers are needlessly dangerous because they aren’t even a good toy.
      I would rather have my kid running around with a baseball bat than one of these things, I guess.

  2. You could always tell which kids played with clackers (also known as click-clacks) because they would have multiple bruises on their arms from the clacker balls slamming into them.

  3. I am in favor of dangerous toys. Or, rather, I am not in favor of any governmental ban that presumes that some useless government functionary is wiser than I am with regard to the care and feeding of my own children. Every last one of those injuries or deaths is a failure of parenting. And four ..in sixteen years or so? Hardly worth bothering. More are killed on bicycles. Tell the government to go to hell and buy whatever the hell you want for your kids — but you had better make damn sure they’re supervised or that you understand the risk. Why would you *not* build spreader bars for a hammock if you’re going to put a 2-year old in it? Why the hell would you put a 2-year old in such a thing???

    • How, pray tell, are parents supposed to know when a toy has a toxic coating on the outside of it?

      You might not like the fact that the government recalls and/or bans certain things, but the fact is that they have to have some sort quality control for the products that are meant for children. If they know a certain type of crib is responsible for the deaths or maiming of babies and toddlers, are they supposed to sit by and do nothing? No, they need to intervene. If the government or a company knows that a certain toy is causing deaths or near-deaths for a simple, easily avoidable reason, such as suffocation from a pokeball, should they say “Oh well – the parents should have been smarter”? They could do that, but luckily they don’t; at least someone is looking out for the children in that respect.

      Go ahead and decide what toys you want your child to play with, because that’s your right as a parent, but don’t get sanctimonious and offended when the goverment tries to recall or ban products that kill or injure children, even if most of those deaths or injuries wouldn’t happen if the parents were using common sense. It behooves the government to regulate products meant for their future generations, and it should be appreciated when they do, because we all know that they drop the ball far too often.

    • I was in middle school when clackers were popular… in fact, we sold them as a fund raiser…. It was fun to collect them and see how many different colors we could purchase, some were clear, solid colors, and some were opaque with swirly patterns, BUT ours were specially made by a local artist, who used quality ingredients, and embedded the rope deep inside the plastic when the balls were poured into the molds (you could see how deeply the rope was embedded in the clear solid color ones), and to my knowledge, none of them ever shattered or broke or came off the rope. The rope had a ring in the middle, and that’s what we clamped between our fingers, and, we got a little momentum going… and then CLACK CLACK CLACK! Drove the adults batty. LOL. We had competitions to see who could keep it going the longest and it was fun. Yes, there were a few bruises on our arms, but we were kids! We didn’t care! I don’t recall that anybody in our school ever put out an eye or got a concussion…. Looking at the picture above, I wouldn’t buy those either…. they LOOK dangerous, like they could come off that little plastic cap very easily.

      I believe ANY toy can be dangerous if given to a child too young (or too stupid or too mean) to use it properly. I am only sad that I didn’t keep a couple of pairs of them so I could have given them to my daughter when she was old enough. I agree with Brother John, almost all of the injuries/deaths associated with “bad” toys are the result of “bad” parenting. Use good sense and buy toys that are not JUST age appropriate, but ability and intelligence appropriate, and supervise the use of any that have potential to be dangerous (and apparently don’t buy anything painted in China! LOL).

      My daughter had a Easy Bake Oven too, and she loved it… until she got a couple of years older and Mama taught her how to make a real cake using the real oven…. (supervised of course) and after that, the Easy Bake got shelved… but not one time did she burn herself on it (or the real oven, either, for that matter). Now I can see there are issues with tiny magnets and small parts not being safe for “oral” aged babies… a two year old can put something in their mouths as fast as a lightning bolt and even an attentive parent finds it challenging keeping all the every-day “no-nos” out of their mouths… but the parent can make sure toys with tiny parts are saved for an older age.

  4. If I had a set of Jarts right now. I would be putting them up for auction. I haven’t seen those things since before my teen years

    • I saw jarts a sportsmans the other day.I also had hot wheels at the time of the Mattel recall.My parents didn’t hear about the recall

    • Peter Boucher on

      To Gavin : How much money do you want for them !!!! I would sell my soul to own a set as that was my favorite game as a kid. I would suggest putting them on eBay or Amazon. I don’t know how old you are (I am 49) and back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I would always anticipate going to my Uncle’s house and play it as he had a complete set of them

  5. AAAH! I HAD THE POKEBALL I SERIOUSLY DID OH MY GOD. I wonder what happened to it… I also had 3 sky dancers. Had no problems with either.

    • You know what? Your probably alive because your probably not bad like kids these days are. Most of these toys are the kids fault for doing what they did to get hurt!

  6. OMT(o my toast) I begged my mom for those aqua dots just a few years ago O_o I’ve never been happier to have heard my parents say no, I freaking love those overprotective crazies 😀

  7. I just can’t believe that there is such a toy that would use real fire especially when they are intended for kids. That’s really unthinkable. We all know “playing with fire” is dangerous.

    • Which of these toys used fire? The Easy Bake Oven used a 100W lightbulb. If you used a higher wattage bulb you raised the baking temperature. Guess what happened if you used a lower wattage bulb!?

  8. I’ll admit, when I visited my Grandma with my cousins, I did not play safely with the jarts. Our game was to toss them up as high as we could, take cover under the awning, and watch the weight suddenly tip downward and plunge the jart to the earth. The record holder for that day, my oldest cousin, got one buried in the ground so far that it covered the first third of the plastic fins! It was awesome, but…definately not safe!

  9. I’m not trying to be rude here, but I had to point it out: “Pokeman”? Really? I don’t know how you can still misspell Pokemon when you obviously had to look up a promotional toy related to it. But yeah, I remember the Poke Ball recall. The toy is clearly marked “ages 3 and up”, but some parents let a 2-year-old play with it. I don’t see how you can recall something if the injury was caused by not adhering to the warnings.

  10. I just saw a commercial for this flying Tinkerbell toy that is exactly the same as those SkyDancers.
    Weird.

  11. I have a Easy Bake Oven and Pokeball since i was 2. *i got the easybakeoven since i was 7* Wow, i didn’ know and me and my mom had made chocalate chip cookies

  12. Oh the memories of the Click Clacks, yesterday my mother has just found my old ones. I had red and yellow, still all intact with the little red plastic flat holder. When she showed them to me, we both looked at each other and just burster out laughing, as if it was one person, “remember the painter”?. Back when I had these given to me, our house was being painted, and the guy ask if he could try them, sure enough within a couple of tries, his brand new beautiful large silver watch was now shattered, my click clacks killed his watch. I did play with them for a while, found them fun seeing how many clicks I could do without stopping, then, I finally put them away for good, and had forgotten about them 43 years later out they came, I pick them up and haven’t lost the touch, still can click clack but only up to ten so far, bit hard to concentrate and stop laughing when I can still seeing the painter in my head. Oh they were the days when we actually had fun without worrying about a little pain.

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