We all want to protect what is most precious to us. For many of us, that's our family, and especially our children. What if the toys you think are safe are actually life-threatening to your kids? Sometimes, the most innocent-looking items can be the most dangerous. Most of the toys mentioned below are surprisingly still available online and in stores. To ensure your family's safety, we have provided a list of fifteen toys to hide from your kids when you're not around. Purchase with caution.
15 SWAT Electric Machine Gun
This shocking toy is actually meant to look realistic to allow children the role-playing possibility of being a member of the SWAT team. Marketed for ages five and up, this machine gun could easily pass for a real one. Although upon inspection, this is obviously a toy, at a distance, it is not so obvious, especially because of its realistic combat sound, lights, and vibration to mimic a real machine gun.
Adults and even law enforcement officers could easily be fooled by this $10 toy. In Los Angeles, a teen was shot because his toy gun was mistaken for a real one. Toy guns in general are so dangerous that the Bureau of Justice Statistics has a PDF document with research regarding the threat of criminals using toy guns to fool victims and the types of misleading toys on the market.
14 Foam Toy Dart Gun
Similar to the machine gun, the Foam Dart Gun is a realistic pistol that is targeted for an even younger age group: three years old and up! Not only is this gun super realistic, but the darts themselves can cause injuries. Even worse, the darts can be modified to be even more dangerous! Although many gun toys provide the illusion of danger, this gun can lead to real bodily harm. According to World Against Toys Causing Harm, or W.A.T.C.H., detailed replicas have resulted in a number of unnecessary deaths and should not be sold as toys for children, especially as young as the age of three.
13 True Legends Orcs Battle Hammer
This hard, plastic hammer is yet another toy weapon that can cause serious problems. Like the pistol mentioned above, this toy is aimed at children as young as three years old. Wielding this hammer at another child can cause blunt force injuries. Despite this fact, it has no warning labels whatsoever! Unless you want your child to use a toy hammer to make some real marks, it's better to have him or her play with this toy only with adult supervision.
12 STATS 38″ Quick Folding Trampoline
Another toy that definitely requires adult supervision is this seemingly unsafe trampoline. Many trampolines come with safety nets to prevent injury. This trampoline is so dangerous, however, that it contains a warning packet inside the box that alerts parents to the possibility of serious injuries, including paralysis and death! That's right, for just $50, your six-year-old can jump all the way to the emergency room if not cautious. Just make sure you are around when your little one decides to go for a jump, or skip the trampoline altogether.
As if creating your own poo out of dough wasn't a strange enough toy for your three-year-old, this dirty toy might actually be contaminated with wheat. If your child has a gluten or wheat allergy, you might want to steer clear of this toy. This allergen can cause a wide host of serious symptoms in your child, including headaches, hives, difficulty breathing, and even life-threatening anaphylaxis! This is definitely a prank that can go very wrong.
10 Splat X Smack Shot
For only $10, your eight-year-old can have his or her own powerful sling shot, capable of shooting up to 100 feet! The downside is that your kid will probably have to be monitored when playing with it. The reason: if shot at a close distance, it could severely injure another child or an animal. W.A.T.C.H. recommends alerting people nearby when firing the toy as there is the potential for eye injuries and just plain annoying the family pet.
9 Radio Flyer Ziggle
This seemingly innocent little bike can swivel and twist your three-to-eight year-old around your yard. Just make sure your child stays away from the street. Because it is so low-riding, Business Insider warns that your child is at a high risk of being run over by a vehicle. W.A.T.C.H also points out that, "despite a warning to 'always wear' a helmet and other safety gear, the young rider pictured on the box is wearing no protection."
As with many toys on this list, this one is best played with the cautious eye of a parent or in an enclosed yard.
8 Kick Flipper
Although this toy is a skateboard without wheels, that doesn't mean that it's necessarily safe. It's made from a flimsy plastic material that can shoot up on either side like a skateboard. The toy warns young users to not use this device on stairs.
It's marketed to children as young as five years old, and encourages children to "Kick it! Flip It! Pop It!" and to learn tricks on it. The packaging warns that using this toy irresponsibly can lead to head and limb injuries. Despite this warning, the package makes no mention of safety gear.
7 Leonardo’s Electronic Stealth Sword
This electronic sword trains your kid to use it with fifty phrases from his or her favorite Ninja Turtle. As with any toy sword, the purpose is to swing it at objects, the air, or at other children in play. Unfortunately, the blade is a little too hardcore for your three-year-old. It has been known to cause facial injuries, blunt force injuries, and other impact injuries. That'll definitely harsh your mellow.
Parents are careful to keep their children away from playing with knives or scissors, so it's a ridiculous thought that any sane parent would want to give their child a toy sword that could cause serious harm.
6 Bottle Rocket Party
Even though it's a bottle rocket, it seems safe since it doesn't use real fire to set it off. Instead, it uses safe ingredients like water and baking soda. Despite this, the package warns that parental supervision is definitely needed. That's because it's dangerous enough to include safety tape. It can cause facial, eye, or other impact injuries. Surprisingly, this toy doesn't come with safety goggles, which would be a great idea to include. So if you are trying to turn your little one into a little scientist, do so with caution and supervision.
"You'll shoot your eye out," is a phrase from the classic Christmas movie, A Christmas Story that definitely applies to this dangerous toy.
5 Pull Along Zebra
When your child is beginning to crawl and walk, it can be cute to watch him or her pulling along a toy, almost like walking a pet. Well, this is a pull toy you definitely will want to watch. Without parental supervision, your toddler can easily be entangled in the cord or even strangled! Why? Well, it turns out that the cord is longer than the permitted 12 inches in length. Its cord is approximately 21 inches! Surprisingly, this toy remains on the market and is sold both online and at major retail shops such as K-Mart and Brookstone. The age recommendation for the toy is a shocking 12-36 months, but you'd want to never even turn your back while your little one plays with this.
4 Jurassic World Velociraptor Claws
Marketed for ages four and up, these cute glove-like claws allow your child to "claw like a raptor." The packaging warns for parents to not buy this for a child three years old or under because they can choke on small parts. There is not a warning or caution, however, on the packaging for eye or facial injuries that may occur regardless of age. Although the claws aren't sharp, they are a good size to poke someone's eye out.
If your little ones are into Jurassic Park, it may be best to stick with a plush stuffed animal of one of the dinos.
3 Wooden Instruments
This toy can spark the musical imagination of children aged twelve months and older. These wooden instruments are environmentally-friendly, but not necessarily toddler-friendly. The drumstick is approximately four and a half inches long and can be easily lodged into a child's throat and is long enough to block the airway. Despite this, there are no warning labels at all pertaining to the wooden drumstick, so its best to wait until your children are old enough to try playing with the real thing.
2 Air Storm Firetek Bow
Similar to the sling shot mentioned earlier, this bow and arrow set can cause impact injuries and potentially injure or kill small animals. Thankfully, the arrows light up and the toy produces a "zonic blaze" screaming whistle sound to alert people nearby. Despite being labeled as a glow-in-the-dark toy, the package warns to not play in complete darkness.
It also warns to shoot at half-strength and to not aim at nearby people or things. After all, the arrows can shoot up to 145 feet and the W.A.T.C.H says that the manufacturer's warning to not shoot the arrow at animals or people may be "unfeasible for a young child to follow while playing."
For only $4, your child can bring a "safe" weapon to school. That's right, this is every bullies' dream toy. It's a sling shot that's also a pencil. It says on the package that it's perfect for target practice, but what are you supposed to be shooting at? This pencil toy is for ages three and up. It encourages violence in the classroom, and if play gets out of hand, the pencil could be easily misused as a dagger. There's just so much wrong with this toy.
In November 2013, over 200,000 unsafe toys were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Not all toys are stopped before they make it to the shelves. For that reason, U.S. News and World Report published a guide for parents on things to look out for before making any purchasing decisions for the holidays, kids' birthdays, or any other occasion. They warn to not buy riding toys unless you intend to supervise, to avoid choking hazards if your child is young or likes to put things in their mouths, and to avoid seemingly poorly constructed toys, even if the price is tempting, because they might break on your child and seriously injure them. Watch your child when there is risk of injury and avoid toys that seem potentially dangerous. Most of the time, common sense and caution will go a long way.