ATLANTA - When you give children gifts this year you want them to love them. But, most important, you don't want to inadvertently give toys that could harm them.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child makes an emergency room visit every three minutes for a toy-related injury. The classic culprits are small parts, strings or projectiles.
When you walk into a store and hold that toy, it might be apparent to you that it's not an appropriate gift for some children. But much of shopping today is done online. And while that's convenient, you lose the ability to see it and touch it before buying it.
So, we've turned to a group called W.A.T.C.H. which is "World Against Toys Causing Harm." The group's annual list of "10 Worst Toys" for the holiday season is out.
A toy called the "Hallmark Itty Bittys Baby Stacking Toy" was actually recalled by the CPSC over the summer. But, the toy watchdog group says they're still finding them online on re-sale sites. It was recalled as a choking hazard. The hats and bows detach.
Now that's the only toy on its list of 10 that has been recalled. The others, the group believes, have the potential to be a problem. W.A.T.C.H. reports that it sees trends in toys that have been previously recalled, and one of them is strings that can strangle children.
Here's a toy W.A.T.C.H. is having a problem with. It's called the "Pull Along Pony." I need to say this has not been recalled. Its maker says W.A.T.C.H.'s opinion is inaccurate and that the toy has passed global voluntary safety standards. But here's the problem says the watchdog group - the string. It's about 19 inches long and it's sold for babies as young as 12 months.
The danger can occur if that child takes that toy to bed. And you and I know sometimes children can't part with a favorite toy even at bedtime. It's recommended by the American Society for Testing and Materials that crib pulls be no longer than 12 inches so that sleeping babies don't strangle themselves. W.A.T.C.H. would love for this pull-along toy to carry a warning not to put it in a child's bed.
OK, fidget spinners. They've been stocking stuffers for years. W.A.T.C.H. along with CPSC - even www.FidgetSpinners.com - all warn that some of them can be considered a choking hazard when the metal pieces inside of them fall out. The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers fidget spinner safety tips.
Now let's look at a toy called Oval Xylophone. W.A.T.C.H. and the toymaker can agree that it passes the standards for children 12 months and older. But here's the issue: W.A.T.C.H. warns that children that young may put the drumstick in their mouths. And it can fit right down the airway. Again, it meets the standards because it's sold, they say, as a musical instrument and not a toy that would go in the mouth. The company addresses this online and commits to its safety.
Two more: the Jetts Heel Wheels. Kids strap it on their feet. It's like a rear-wheel only roller skate. The box says it sparks; it's supposed to. It's not a recalled item. The box says it's good for kids eight and up. But, W.A.T.C.H. disagrees because the box says, "It can induce fire." I'll let you decide if your kids can handle that. And, finally, the official movie edition Spiderman spider drone. It has rotating blades. Not recalled. But W.A.T.C.H. says the fast, rotating blades are a danger to fingers and eyes. I wrote both toy companies but have not heard back.