Imagine the excitement in your 2-year-old’s eyes when you hand her what appears to be a plastic shiv as well as fake fruit with this simple instruction: “Get to slicing!”
Such is the Cutting Fruit kit from Kid O Toys, named one of the 10 Worst Toys thanks to the inelegant concept of encouraging toddlers to wield dull knives, if not discovering what they can do beyond cutting plastic fruit.
The list names the worst toys not because kids will find them lame. No, not at all.
It's supposed to call out toys with dangers lurking just below their fun facades.
Revealed Tuesday by World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.), the roundup includes a variety of playtime weapons, as well as such seemingly non-threatening toys as pillow pets, a plush ballerina and a wooden dog.
Each year W.A.T.C.H. releases the worst-toy list to raise awareness of potentially dangerous playthings. While some inclusions are obvious, as those encouraging knife play among those yet to master hand-eye coordination, others are not so evident (looking at you, Cabbage Patch Kids Dance Time Doll) but could still be harmful.
And each year the Toy Association takes exception to not only the list, but its tone (which, the group said, needlessly frightens parents and caregivers). The association points out the folks from W.A.T.C.H. don't rigorously test the toys, assembling the list largely for media attention. (Full media disclosure: Yeah, we're suckers for this list).
Here’s the full 10-worst list. Sorry, kids.
Nickelodeon Nella Princess Knight Pillow Pets Sleeptime Lights, $20
What: Plush that beams night-sky images on the ceiling.
W.A.T.C.H. warns: Contains accessories that can be removed and swallowed; batteries may leak acid.
Likely real-life hazard: Child hypnotized by light display will throw a tantrum because you forget to bring it to grandma’s, and no one will get any sleep.
Nerf Vortex VTX Praxis Blaster, $35
What: Rifle firing plastic discs.
W.A.T.C.H. warns: Eye and facial injuries.
Likely real-life hazard: Hurt feelings all around when a friendly Nerf battle devolves into a wrestling match and a dent in the wall.
Marvel Black Panther Slash Claw, $10
What: A rigid plastic claw that fits easily over small hands.
W.A.T.C.H. warns: Eye and facial injuries.
Likely real-life hazard: Eye and facial injuries. “Mom, it’s a slash claw, not a wave-in-the-air claw.”
Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Superstar Blade, $30
What: A spring-loaded plastic blade.
W.A.T.C.H. warns: Impact injuries to face and body.
Likely real-life hazard: Explaining to the other parent just how the play date went wrong, even though you stressed sword safety to your youngster.
Cabbage Patch Kids Dance Time Doll, $15
What: A cherub-faced doll wearing a headband and tutu.
W.A.T.C.H. warns: Headband can be removed and ingested, particularly by oral-age kids.
Likely real-life hazard: Starting a lifetime collection of Cabbage Patch Kids with the mistaken notion it will increase in value, leading to Cabbage Patch hoarding and eventual bankruptcy.
Zoo Jamz Xylophone, $15
What: An easy-to-play electronic musical instrument aimed at infants up to 4 years old.
W.A.T.C.H. warns: A drum stick that can block a child’s airway if mouthed.
Likely real-life hazard: Sharp plastic shards littering the carpet when you seriously cannot take another electronic chirp or beep from a xylophone that doesn’t know when to shut up.
Nici Wonderland Doll: Miniclara the Ballerina, $25
What: An plush, big-footed doll holding a kitten.
W.A.T.C.H. warns: The plush kitten may be removed and ingested.
Likely real-life hazard: None. Just toss the cat; your child will never miss it. Nobody would.
Stomp Rocket Ultra Rocket, $20
What: Plastic rocket that can soar as high as 200 feet when inflated launcher is stomped.
W.A.T.C.H. warns: Serious eye and face injuries.
Likely real-life hazard: Some kid, perhaps yours, will weaponize the rocket, aiming it at the child slow to scatter.
Cutting Fruit, $30
What: Magnetic fruit can be halved with dull plastic knife.
W.A.T.C.H. warns: Blunt trauma and puncture wounds.
Likely real-life hazard: You will question your 2-year-old about the stash of pacifiers you found in his drawer, but he refuses to talk.
Chien A Promener Pull Along Dog, $15
What: String attached to a wooden dog on wheels.
W.A.T.C.H. warns: Entanglement and strangulation.
Likely real-life hazard: Child will become increasingly cranky when she can’t find the “on” switch.