Toy Watchdog Group Tries to Ruin Christmas Again

It's nearly Christmas, which means it's time for the annual pearl clutchers' list of toys that will kill your children. This is the list of toys that the watchdog group, WATCH — World Against Toys Causing Harm. Someone must have really wanted to spell "WATCH" — have deemed deadly, dangerous, and downright evil.

For the last 46 years, WATCH has tried their very best to frighten parents into not buying certain toys for their kids because they think kids are idiots and won't use the toys properly.

To be fair, most kids are idiots, and they don't use toys properly. But that's what childhood is all about. Show me a kid that always uses toys the way they should, and I'll show you WATCH's future president.

According to the WATCH website, "one child is treated in a U.S. emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury."

It must suck to be that kid, but if they would just take his toys away he'd be fine.

The one thing WATCH fails to mention about this statistic is whether the toys from any of their previous scare-monger lists were among the culprits. Maybe it was a kid who tripped over a box of Legos. Or got Play-Doh stuck in her nose. Or got whacked with a toy fire engine. Or shot their eye out.

The Toy Association, an industry trade group of toy manufacturers, said that WATCH is fear-mongering and that only two toys from WATCH's last five years have ever been recalled. They point to the giant cautions emblazoned on every toy as enough warning for cautious parents.

But WATCH believes that's not enough, so they've tried to ruin fun for the last 45 years, releasing their lists of bad toys right before each holiday shopping season.

This year, WATCH published its 46th annual list of "10 Worst Toys" for the holiday season, citing fears of poked-out eyes, concussions, and asphyxiation, just like all the other lists.

Actually, that last one has always scared me a bit, but I didn't need some tinsel tattletale looking over my shoulder. We made sure we didn't give our kids any toys that were choking hazards. If it could be pulled off, we cut it off. If it was too tiny, we didn't give it to them.

And that's the big secret to successful parenting. Assume your kid is going to stick things in their mouth, and it's your job to make sure they don't. If you can manage that, and keep their diapers changed, you're golden.

But not all parents are that on the ball, which is why toy packages all say: "WARNING: Choking hazard. Do not give this to children under 4, or if you're an idiot."

And just in case parents are idiots, WATCH tries to Grinch on every kid's dream toy. If they'd been around 2,000 years ago, they would have told Mary that myrrh was a choking hazard.

So what do these Nervous Nellies and Nosy Parkers want to ruin this year?

Number 4 on the list is the Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Superstar Blade, a plastic sword from Bandai. Apparently, you can't spell Band-Aid without Bandai, but this toy sounds so badass that I want one.

I don't care if it's a Power Rangers toy though. Anything that has a Super Ninja Steel Superstar blade has got to be awesome. It could be a My Little Pony Super Ninja Steel Superstar sword, and I would still want it.

The sword has a spring-loaded blade which can extend the sword to 24 inches. And it comes with the expected warnings, like not aiming it at someone's eyes or face, and no hitting, poking, or swinging at anyone with the toy.

But what else are you supposed to do with it? Swords are made for swinging. When I was 13 years old, I made a couple of swords out of pieces of lumber, and a friend and I used to try to knock the crap out of each other. Things got a little hairy when I cracked him on the fingers, and he went berserk and actually tried to hit me. Good thing I had my wooden shield.

I wish number 8 had been around when I was a kid: the high-flying Ultra Rocket, a foam-tipped stomp rocket that can allegedly fly up to 200 feet. You run up and stomp on the launcher, and launch the foam-tipped rocket "up to 200 feet," which means it won't reach 200 feet unless you fire it right into a tornado. Still, with a little ingenuity and planning, you can fire them at your friends for a nice game of Dodge Rockets (patent pending).

Number 3 just proves WATCH doesn't like kids. They're going after the Marvel Black Panther Slash Claw.

The complaint? "These rigid, plastic claws. . . are sold to five-year-olds to 'slash' like the Black Panther, while simultaneously advising not to "hit or swing at people.…'"

To be fair, yes, your kid is going to try slashing a friend or sibling with his or her new claws. But they'll only do it once, because the other kid is going to retaliate, and lessons will be learned.

But if your 5-year-old starts rampaging with the Black Panther claws, just whip out your Super Ninja Steel Superstar blade, and show the little brat that, king of Wakanda or not, you and My Little Pony aren't taking crap from anyone, and it's time to end this battle once and for all.

Now, prepare the rockets!

Photo credit: Mike Mozart (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

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