Batman Toy Dangerous? Really? Because Of Its Ears?!
Filed under: Opinions
Why are we so obsessed with a Santa sack full of danger? Toys are not manufactured by evil trolls in the mountains of Mattel to explode on contact, or poison the pretties, or break off into chewable, chokeable chunks. And yet every Christmas since 1973, out comes the list from W.A.T.C.H. (that's World Against Toys Causing Harm): "The 10 Most Dangerous Toys."
Are these things really going to maim and kill our kids? Let's take a look.
One of the toys on this year's list -- reprinted everywhere from the Today Show website to the Huffington Post -- is the Dark Knight Batman Action Figure. While the thing's $39.98 price tag could easily give any parent a heart attack, the danger is supposedly to kids, thanks to the figure's inch-long ears of "pointed, rigid plastic."
"Toddlers may fall on these inflexible protrusions, with the potential for penetrating and blunt-force injuries," say the folks at W.A.T.C.H.
Holy frivolous lawsuit, Batman! A child could fall directly upon the ears of this toy and end up, er, penetrated by the Dark Knight? Wouldn't the action figure have to be standing straight up for that to happen? How likely is it to remain standing straight up if a kid bellyflopped onto it from, I don't know, a bunkbed? Isn't this scenario just a little far-fetched?
Here's another toy the list is warning us against: The Pucci Pups Maltese. What could be so dangerous about a fluffy stuffed animal -- aside from it inspiring your kids to start begging for a REAL pet? Oh, my friends, it is, of course, the leash! It's a choking hazard.
Sure, so is every single jump rope in existence. And every shoe lace. And every hair ribbon. But you can't be too careful! Moreover, the Pucci Pup poses another grave danger: its fur! If your child yanks this out and shoves it down her throat, the fur presents "an aspiration hazard."
So does real fur, for that matter. But we're supposed to be afraid of stuffed animals now.
When I spoke to the head of W.A.T.C.H., James Swartz (surprise: a lawyer!), I asked what else we parents should beware of. He warned against any battery operated toys for kids under age EIGHT. Not because fancy, look-at-me toys rot kids' brains and they should all be playing with rag dolls and finger puppets. No, said Swartz, it's because "batteries leak or explode."
Glad no one under eight is playing with a Tickle Me Elmo!
"These things are publicity stunts," says Chris Byrne, a.k.a. The Toy Guy, speaking about the W.A.T.C.H. list. "He's scaring
parents unnecessarily. He's a product injury lawyer."
The person Mr. Swartz may have scared the most is himself. His kids are 14 and 17 now and what presents has he gotten them over the years?
Some toys, he says, and some sporting equipment, but also: sweaters. "A lot of sweaters," he admitted. "They're not toys. But they're safer."
What do you think? Do dangerous toy lists go too far?
Related: Toys, 12 Tips for a Debt-Free Holiday
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.