Sometimes a toy design can seem so fresh and innovative that it eclipses good sense. Many ideas seem great when laid out on paper, but when they actually hit the stores it takes only a little while to figure out that their inherent pleasure might sour just a bit when the drawbacks of their design are revealed. Kid’s toys are meant to be fun, colorful, and overall entertaining. It can be beneficial to make them educational as well, but in regards to the toys listed below it’s fair to say that the type of education gained from their use is not what parents and toy manufacturers had in mind. So with that,
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Here are the top ten banned toys that people might like to forget ever existed.
10. “Snack Time” Cabbage Patch Kids
Almost every little girl loved playing with Cabbage Patch Kids, especially with these interactive little bundles of joy. They were designed to eat plastic food and munch away without cease until the food was gone. It kind of brings to mind a paper shredder, but without the benefit of the OFF switch. These cuddly little dolls did not possess such a switch and as a result were soon taken off the market when it was reported that several kids got their fingers and hair caught in the jaws of these slightly creepy little figures.
9. Atomic Energy Lab
It might be fair to say that toymakers in the 1950’s were not the most up to date bunch when it came to marketing toys for children. With nuclear energy fast becoming a new trend when it came to powering the country, toymakers figured that kids might want to get in on the action. This kit actually contained small amounts of uranium that kids could use to work with. Despite not being toxic enough to harm kids from exposure, swallowing the substance, as smaller kids are known to do, could cause various types of cancer. It’s said that hindsight is 20/20, but in regards to this toy a little foresight might have been better.
8. Snap Bracelets
These simple and innocuous bracelets are still in circulation today, but thanks to knock-off brands that picked up on the original popularity of the snap bracelet the toys were taken off the market some time ago. This was due largely to the use of cheap fabric that would tear and allow the metal band to lacerate the hands and wrists of the unwitting wearer. While they are still out in use today the regulations on their design are so strict that they are little more than a bad copy of the originals.
If you remember playing with these you might remember having a good time, or running for your life. This game was little more than someone’s attempt at creating a larger version of darts. On its own the game isn’t all that dangerous, but thanks to the misguided use of some 7,000 hapless individuals, Jarts was pulled from the market without hesitation. Some stores went so far as to condemn the game by using mannequins that were impaled with the darts to show the “danger” that such a game could pose. In truth Jarts was a fun and easy game to play, assuming that the user wasn’t drunk or otherwise tempted to aim at a different, much softer target.
6. Creepy Crawlers
If you’re a 90s kid you might remember this popular item when it came out. It was essentially a way to make your own gummy candy right in the comfort of your own home. The problem with this particular toy is that it not only operated with an extremely high amount of heat, but the ingredients could also produce toxic fumes that could harm the user. It’s hard to imagine anything that could create such fun and seemingly harmless fun being dangerous, but the danger posed thanks to misuse was real enough that the toy was pulled.
So many different things that exist on the market come with the warning that they aren’t for young children, particularly babies. Magnetix came with a large number of small, easily swallowed pieces that became the downfall of the brand. When kids started ingesting the pieces it became a public health hazard that spelled doom for the toy. Even today there are a great many toys that suffer from this stigma, but for some reason one among many got pulled, which seems a bit unjust. But still, to make an example sometimes even a favored part of childhood must be sacrificed.
4. Austin Magic Pistol
Any time you hand a child a pistol there is bound to be some controversy, even when it’s a toy. This handheld pistol might have been okay considering that it was fairly harmless and made to shoot ping pong balls. Unfortunately, as it can be said for a number of toys on this list, the potential for mayhem with such a toy became quite obvious when the temptation to shoot something other than the intended ammo came into play. It was actually seen that grown men would use this pistol as a means to make a miniature flamethrower, as well as engineer a way to make the pistol shoot further, faster, and with more force than was originally intended. Sometimes it’s not the toy or the kids that need regulating, but instead the adults that get the idea to take something innocent and misbehave.
You might think something so innocuous would be a ridiculous toy to ban. But then as with everything misuse comes as no surprise when the toy is used to bang or hit something repeatedly. The problem with clackers is that while they are designed to smack their two, hard balls together just for amusement, the propensity to use the toy as type of flail became too great for some. Also, when hit too hard, the balls would tend to explode, sending shrapnel flying in all directions.
2. Splash Blaster Hydro Rocket
This seemed like such a fun toy and that nothing could go wrong with it. But then, as NASA experts might have been able to tell the manufacturers, anything can go wrong in pre to mid-launch. The issue with the rocket was due largely to the amount of pressure that would be put upon it in an attempt to make it climb higher into the air. That type of pressure was far more than the rocket had been designed to take, and in many reported cases the rocket would explode in mid-launch, sending shrapnel flying in all directions at speeds high enough to penetrate skin. This is where making it rain meets bring on the pain.
1. Aqua Dots
This toy was a fine bit of fun that kids could thoroughly enjoy until that one misstep that was taken by using them in the wrong way. These dots were filled with a chemical that, upon contact would water, would allow them to adhere to one another, allowing kids to make pleasing designs and mosaics that could provide hours of fun. The problem was that this chemical also worked as a powerful sedative, and kids that had a propensity to put things in their mouths were found in a comatose state after playing with the dots, and unwittingly consuming them of course.
The real reason why so many toys become banned isn’t always that they possess design flaws, though this is of course one of the main reasons. Instead, the misuse of such toys often brings the blame back to the manufacturers, not the overgrown “kids” that see fit to ruin a good time by acting foolish.