A set of dinosaur claws, a quick-folding trampoline and a slingshot-like device that can launch projectiles 100ft are some of the most dangerous children's toys this season, according to a consumer toy watchdog.
The annual 10 Worst Toys list published by the US-based consumer watchdog, World Against Toys Causing Harm (Watch), is meant to warn parents about potentially dangerous toys before they begin their Christmas shopping, but it could also be considered the embodiment of Ebenezer Scrooge around the holiday time.
According to the US Consumer Protection Safety Commission, there were nine toy-related deaths of children in 2013, down from 11 in 2012, along with more than 256,000 toy-related visits to hospital emergency rooms.
"The numbers continue to be staggering. One child goes to the ER every three minutes in the United States because of toy-related injuries – 250,000 kids in 2013 alone. Many of these injuries are preventable with safer-designed toys and pre-market testing," said Watch president Joan Siff.
But US trade group The Toy Industry Association said the industry met or exceeded stringent federal safety standards for toys, and that Watch and other safety watchdog groups had routinely misrepresented their products in reports.
The Watch list highlights a set of Jurassic World Velociraptor Claws, made by Hasbro, which are disembodied foam arms from the predatory dinosaur for children aged four and older. Watch said the packaging provided no warnings or cautions regarding the potential for eye and facial injuries. Siff said online purchases were also problematic.
"Consumers buying toys on the internet are already at a disadvantage, not being able to thoroughly inspect and physically examine a toy for more obvious hazards. Consumers may not be getting complete product safety information at the time of purchase," she said.
A spokesman for Hasbro was not available for comment, but the product's packaging said the claws were made of soft foam to "prevent damage".
Other items on the Watch list included: the Kid Connection Doctor Playset from Wal-Mart, which provided instruments such as a 12cm tongue depressor for children two-years-old and up that Watch said posed a choking hazard; the Foam Dart Gun by GD Jiefeng Toys, which Watch said looked real enough to get children into trouble; a Quick Folding Trampoline from Toys R Us, which Watch said posed the risk of neck injury if a child fell; and the Splat X Smack Shot by Imperial Toy LLC, which Watch said could cause eye injuries. Officials for all companies were not immediately available for comment.