Scott Hollifield: Terror under the tree -- Most dangerous toys for 2018

World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH), a consumer safety group, has named its “10 Worst Toys for 2018,” a list of hunks of plush and plastic that carry the most risk of sending a screaming youngster to the hospital on Christmas morning.

The news release includes this startling fact: “One child is treated in U.S. emergency rooms every three minutes for a toy-related injury.”

That’s one unlucky kid.

As the interim senior consumer safety/pediatric emergency medical correspondent for this award-winning publication, I will use a Q&A format to take a closer look at the dangerous toy list.

Q. Hey, Scott, I was thinking about getting my nephew Corky those Marvel Black Panther Slash Claws , described as “rigid, plastic claws, based on a popular comic book and movie character” or maybe the Nerf Vortex VTF Praxis Blaster which will “fire 10 discs in a row with pump action blasting.” Are these appropriate gifts?

A. No! According to WATCH, the claws carry a potential for eye and facial injuries. While the package warns “Do not hit or swing at people or animals,” I recall last Christmas when Corky chased the cat around with a plastic hammer from his Bob the Builder tool set. And we both know Corky will swallow a Nerf disc 15 seconds after he opens the package.

Q. If I can’t get him any cool toys I might as well buy a Nickelodeon Nella Princess Knight Pillow Pets Sleeptime Lite or a Cabbage Patch Kids Dance Time Doll . He probably won’t make the football team later in life but at least he won’t put an eye out, right?

A. According to WATCH, the Princess Knight Pillow Pet includes a warning that “battery acid leakage can cause personal injury” and the Cabbage Patch Kid includes a removable headband “which can be ingested.” These two are on the naughty list.

Q. How about a Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Superstar Blade complete with a spring-loaded blade for poking or maybe a Stomp Rocket Ultra Rocket which can launch a projectile up to 200 feet in the air when stomped? Corky has always been partial to poking and stomping.

A. The Ninja Blade has the potential to cause facial or other impact injuries, as does the Stomp Rocket, which comes in packaging encouraging children to “Run. Jump. Stomp!” but not to “aim at your eyes or face.” While Corky is good and poking and stomping, he does have difficulty following directions.

Q. About all I can come up with now is the Zoo Jamz Xylophone , which has no warning on the package, or the Nici Wonderland Doll , which is sold with her friend “little kitten.” Surely there could be nothing dangerous about these toys, right?

A. According to WATCH, the caterpillar-themed xylophone comes with a drumstick that could “occlude a child’s airway.” The Nici Wonderland Doll’s “little kitten” friend is a choking hazard.

Q. What about a Pull Along Dog ? It’s a wooden dog on wheels and a string. Not even Corky could do any damage with that, right?

A. Wrong. WATCH says the dog’s 19-inch string violates the industry standard that certain toys have strings or cords less than 12-inches in length.

Q. I’m at the end of my 12-inch rope here. All I can think of now is something called the Kid O Toys Cutting Fruit , described as a “magnetic apple, pear and orange… sold with a ‘slicing knife’ made of hard plastic.” It’s bad, isn’t it?

A. Yes. WATCH says the “knife can potentially cause puncture wounds and other blunt trauma injuries.” But, he may be able to defend himself with it if the kid down the street gets a pair of Marvel Black Panther Slash Claws.

Q. Do you think Corky would like a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond?

A. No, but WATCH would probably find something wrong with that, too.

Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, NC and a humor columnist. Contact him at

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