W.A.T.C.H.'s 10 Worst Toys of 2011: What NOT to Buy Your Kids

By , dealnews Media Editor

Ah, the holidays! They're a wondrous time in a child's life. Lights, songs, presents! (OH! The presents!) So why chance ruining all the fun by getting your kid a toy that's going to harm them? That's not very cheerful.

Thankfully, the kind people at W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc.) are watching out for your kids. Just like every other year since time began, this group has put together its list of the season's "10 Worst Toys." Each one on this list has it out for your kid, so you better avoid them at all costs if you want 'lil Timmy to see Christmas 2012.

All joking aside, click through to see the quite serious reasons these toys have been banned.

Twist 'n Sort
This toy, which presents "problem solving challenges" to your tot, could not solve its own problem of easily detatchable pieces that present a choking hazard to children.
Power Rangers Samurai Mega Blade
This plastic sword is meant to spring open and fully extend at the touch of a button — regardless of your child's face being in the way. Also fun: The toy warns your kid not to "(1) aim toy at anyone, (2) hit anyone with toy, (3) poke anyone with toy, (4) swing toy at anyone." If there is a single kid out there who could take such an awesome toy as a Power Ranger sword and spend the day calmly contemplating and admiring its beauty without once taking it up to smite something, I'd like to meet him / her (and advise his parents to cut the medication dose by at least half). Because, honestly, I couldn't go three minutes without hurting myself / others with this plastic sword, and I supposedly "know better."
Fold & Go Trampoline
One need only search YouTube for "trampoline" to see why they are amongst the most hilarious dangerous toys on the market. This trampoline's ultra-portability, we'd assume, causes to it to be more dangerous, as there will be more opportunity to use it: in the house near Mom's fragile vases, outside in the year near Mom's other fragile vases (Mom likes vases), in church, in the bear pit at the zoo, etc.
Haba Pulling Animal Duck
Marketed to 1-year-olds (do they have spendable cash / credit cards at that age?!) this toy "waddles amusingly when pulled," (just like Aunt Agnes, after a large meal). Too bad it's 33" cord is nothing but a noose-in-the-making. With that knowledge, the duck's eye goes from looking like an innocent blob of paint to the cold, vacant eye of a psychopathic madman, who will feel not a jolt of remorse as it garottes your child. It might even giggle as it does it. This entry got real dark, real fast, huh?
Schylling School Bus
If you're giving your child a school bus as a present, you've probably already ascertained that they are too boring to do anything creatively dangerous with it. You would be wrong! Through no creativity of their own, the wheels on these buses can go round and round ... down your baby's esophagus. Next stop: Asphyxia. (No spitting or loud music playing. Exact change only, no bills.)
Z-Curve Bow
The instructions on this toy-weapon tell you not to pull the arrows back "more than half strength." This is like having a "danger" setting on a carousel, isn't it? If it's not meant to be cranked up to 11, why have the option? Why can't we have ticket-holders centrifugally flung from their racehorses into the cotton candy machine?! Why must we clip our wings?
Stepper "Low Rise" Stilts
I have serious issues with this one. I cannot believe that these "romper stomper rip-offs" are dangerous. (Mainly because my grandfather built me a pair of these out of coffee cans and wire when I was 5 years old. Sure, this is the same man who, a few years prior to that, bought me a ride-on banana with wheels that had such a mis-balanced center of gravity, it tipped me head-over-teakettle onto the cement, causing my newly-grown front teeth to pierce my lower lip and require three stitches. But, c'mon, scars are cool!)
Pirates of the Caribbean Sword Fighting Jack Sparrow
Push a lever and this Depp-in-a-wig-with-funny-accent doll viciously jabs a 4-1/2" sword. But that's not the worst of it! Buying this action figure because your kid put it on his Christmas list reveals that, despite your best efforts to avoid it, your child has gone behind your back and seen the latest Pirates film. I'd say there are deeper issues here than a 4-1/2" sword, wouldn't you?
The Incredible Shrinky Dink Maker
W.A.T.C.H. seems to think that a red-hot, 60-watt lightbulb is going to burn your child, if they use this Easy-Bake Oven–like toy incorrectly. Although we agree, we also believe that it will only burn them once. It's a steep learning curve, but if they survive the experience, everyone comes out ahead.
Godzilla Bandai 12" Deluxe Gigan
Beyond the risk of severe puncture wounds doled out in your kid's flesh from the "unforgiving, plastic protrusions" of this kaiju doll, you would be setting your kid up for future roll-play AS Gigan. Do not be surprised if you see your tot stomping around the house, saying, "I. Am. Gigan!" while swinging a pair of knives through the air. After all, you've given him / her the present of a monster with knives for hands! Are you ready for that reality?

There you have it. Avoid these toys like Santa avoids the Island of Misfit Toys* and have a safe, choke/puncture/strangulation-free holiday!

*Though, in the end, Santa wound up picking them all up and giving them to kids, didn't he? So avoid them like an Island of Misfit Toys that also has the plague. (Hey! Maybe that's what was wrong with the little girl doll?! Santa, you fool! You've killed us all!)

Jeff Somogyi is the dealnews Media Editor. That story up there? Yeah, it's true. He'll show you the scar, if you ask nicely ... and sometimes when it was the furthest thing from your mind to ask him about. Frankly, he just likes showing off his scars. Read more about his scars, both physical and mental, on Twitter or on his blog. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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I absolutely LOVED this article -- not only for it's good advice, but for it's awesome humor.  Made my day  - keep it up!!
Jeff Somogyi (DealNews)
Pretty sure the Voltron knock-off I had was 99.9% lead. The precautions our parents took against lead poisoning? Yelling, "Don't chew on your toys, son!" And I turned out... ok?
That trampoline is actually a great toy -- for the right child.  My wife and I have an adopted child, and some adopted children have had some more trauma than others (neglect, abuse, etc) and have a hard time coping.  Having a child who is near meltdown jump 100 times on that trampoline can often calm them down.
Love the article!  Brings back old memories of the Battlestar Gallatica ship I had that fired those tiny red missiles (can you say "By Your Command I will choke you").  I wonder if those red missiles ever choked a rat while it was in the landfill.
Santa brought me lawn darts when I was a kid.  I'm thinking that Z-Curve bow would be a great gift for my son!  Kids don't learn by coddling them.  They learn but getting a lawn dart in the foot or slaying a cat with an arrow from the Z-Curve.  If you disagree then wrap your kid in bubble wrap, put on their knee and shin pads and make them wear a helmet.
Every toy I played with as a kid would have made this list.
I am 39 and have 'played' with that Z-curve bow.  It's not a toy.  I was able to repeatedly hit a single brick in a wall at about 50 feet with it.  One time I missed and bent an outdoor water spigot.

That thing has some serious power.  There's no doubt in my mind you could kill a bird or small animal with it.