The 1980s in America marked the Reagan Revolution, Madonna living in a material world, spandex and dangerous toys. While the era produced its share of safe and popular toys, from Care Bears to Transformers to Lite-Brite, there was a slew of toys that either got recalled, banned from schools or forbidden from homes.
Many of the toys to make the list include stuffed animals, which had features unsafe for young children. Others could burn, impale, bruise and pinch kids whose playtimes turned into accidents and trips to doctors’ offices.
Don’t forget to see creepy dolls that were real popular in the '90s.
20 Slip ‘N Slides
Slip N’ Slides have been around forever. According to Popular Mechanics, from 1961 to 1992, they sold over nine million units. Yet the product came to a screeching halt back in the early ‘90s due to a recall, which was due to too many adults getting injured from these toys made for kids.
"Here’s an idea for a toy," thought ‘80s toy execs. “Let’s make metal arrows with pointy ends. Kids will love them.” As imagined, these toys were the cause of a lot of pain. According to LittleThings, there were 7,000 injuries and even a reported death due, which led to the CPSC's necessary ban in 1988.
Clackers prove that a simple concept can translate into hours of fun. A small ring with rope looped through and two balls on each end would make a loud sound from the impact of them striking together. The only problem was, as Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia notes, they could break apart and send pieces flying everywhere, which lead to a ban in 1985.
17 Sesame Street Honkers
Few would think such a goofy-looking toy could ever pose a risk to kids. Yet as MeTV reports, this line of Sesame Street honkers dolls was poorly made, which meant pieces had a way of falling off. With the likelihood of younger kids getting a hold of them, it posed a problem when small pieces detached and could choke them if they ate it.
16 Pogo Bal
Anyone who grew up in the 1980s will remember one of the era’s most popular toys, the Pogo Bal—that’s right, with only one “L.” It was a ball with a flying saucer-shaped disc that served as a platform for kids to balance on. Yet according to MeTV, parents thought the toy too hazardous, which likely led to household bans across the country.
15 Roller Racer
The Roller Racer was really bonkers. It was like a sad miniature version of a bicycle. One problem with the toy, however, were the challenges drivers had seeing kids riding around on them. According to MeTV, with it being so low to the ground, it posed a risk to riders daring enough to ride this in the street
14 Message Bears
Cute, adorable and supposedly dangerous, these Message Bears arrived back in the ‘80s. Sporting a plush balloon attached to a stick, they shipped with messages like “I love you this much.” Yet the stick itself was potentially dangerous, as reports stated it led to poked eyes and choking if swallowed (MeTV).
Here’s a toy adults were more likely to play with, unless they took their kids to work. Buckyballs often sat on work desks throughout the era, yet cases emerged that suggested the toys were dangerous. According to Gizmodo, these magnetic balls were potentially fatal if swallowed, even requiring surgery for some. Things got dicey when the government issued a recall but the company behind Buckyballs didn't comply.
The Skip-It may have had a resurgence in the ‘90s, but it originally debuted in the ‘80s. While it encouraged kids to get outside and even promoted exercise, it also posed a risk to others around the one skipping. According to the site Do You Remember?, it ended up getting barred from playgrounds.
11 Stuffed Dog By Wolverine
These innocent-looking stuffed animals came and went in the ‘80s. According to MeTV, they labeled it a choking hazard, though it’s unclear whether it was due to pieces falling off of it or because it was small enough to fit in kids' mouths. Whatever the case may be, this dog was not as harmless as it seemed.
10 Easy Bake Ovens
Although the Easy-Bake Oven came out decades earlier, it was still selling strong by the time the ‘80s rolled around. It wasn’t until 2007 that all Easy-Bake Ovens up to that point got banned. This was all due to its ancient light bulb, which the law prohibited, according to Earth911.
9 Dress Me Snoopy
The problem with Dress Me Snoopy was not the toy’s gimmick, which featured zip off clothing, but had to do with Snoopy's snout. According to MeTV, his nose was susceptible to falling off. On top of making kids sad to see their toy falling apart, the nose also posed a risk if swallowed.
8 Mini Hammocks
For kids who wanted to laze about, there were mini hammocks. However, several toy companies released their own versions and then had to pull them off the shelves. According to Take Justice Back, twelve kids tragically lost their lives as a result of mini hammocks, which sold throughout the ‘80s and half of the ‘90s.
7 Smurf Bean Bag
This Smurf Bean Bag may look unassuming on the surface, but this small stuffed toy had its faults. According to MeTV, they weren’t made well and could fall apart, exposing all its stuffing. Some kids even ate the stuffing, posing a risk to anyone who worked up an appetite from playing with it.
It’s a good thing they had the good sense not to sell this toy anymore. This rabbit doll may look cute, but one of its accessories was a danger to kids in the ‘80s. Like a certain teddy bear we touch on later, this rabbit’s scarf around its neck could unravel at 10 inches in all, which could lead to strangulation.
5 Snack Time Cabbage Patch Kid
A popular brand of toys during the ‘80s that found success were the Cabbage Patch Kids. Yet there were negative reports coming in for one of their products, the Snack Time Cabbage Patch Kid, which had a dangerous mechanical mouth that could catch kids' hair. According to the site The 13th Floor, Mattel ultimately recalled the toy.
4 Metal Playgrounds
Yes, metal playgrounds were a thing, and anyone who grew up in the ‘80s will remember them, yet with no fondness whatsoever. That led many of them to get demolished, as Flashbak reports, including Lincoln Park in Los Angeles, which actually had stone slides. Imagine how that must have felt on the rump.
3 Teddy Bear In Snow Suit
This teddy bear came with something most stuffed animals lack: clothing you can actually remove and put back on. While it sets the stuffed animal apart from others and serves as a cool accessory, the clothing item was what made this toy dangerous, according to MeTV. Parents probably weren’t too fond of their kids getting a hold of this toy.
2 Garbage Pail Kids
Here’s something different—a toy that wasn’t banned for being dangerous so much as it was a bad influence. At least, that’s what adults thought. Many deemed Garbage Pail Kids too unseemly for children, which meant that schools across the country banned the toys in the 1980s (Best Life Online).
1 Douglas Co. Teddy Bear
Looks like an ordinary teddy bear on the surface—one in which few would hesitate to give freely to their kids—yet it bore something hazardous for youngsters. As MeTV points out, the ribbon around this teddy bear’s neck could stretch out to 24 inches long, which led to a much-needed recall.
Sources: LittleThings, Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia, Gizmodo, Popular Mechanics, MeTV, Do You Remember?, Earth911, The 13th Floor, Take Justice Back, Best Life Online