BOSTON -- World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) revealed its nominees for the “10 Worst Toys of 2017” and demonstrated why the “Wonder Woman Battle Sword,” “Spiderman Spider-Drone,” and other potentially hazardous toys should not be in the hands of children.
This year’s toy report addressed the types of toy hazards available online, as well as in retail stores, so parents know what traps to avoid when buying toys.
In a year when consumers are expected to spend 51percent of their holiday budget online, W.A.T.C.H. highlighted the impact of online purchasing on toy safety.
Although parents have a right to expect that toys they give to their children are safe, unsafe toys remain an ongoing problem.
Due to poor design, manufacturing and marketing practices, there are toys available for purchase today with the potential to lead to serious injury and even death. W.A.T.C.H. urges parents and caregivers to take precautions when buying toys— especially during the upcoming 2017 holiday season.
At this year’s press conference, Consumer Advocates Joan E. Siff, President of W.A.T.C.H., and James A. Swartz, a nationally known trial attorney and Director of W.A.T.C.H., demonstrated toys with inconsistent and inadequate warnings, cautions and age recommendations as well as other classic safety hazards that continue to re-appear year after year.
Swartz and Siff also provided up-to-date information about toy recalls and stressed the necessity for more stringent oversight of the toy industry and continued vigilance by parents and caregivers.
The Toy Association disagreed with W.A.T.C.H.'s assessment and issued this statement.
"By law, all toys sold in the United States must meet 100+ rigorous safety tests and standards and be certified compliant by a federally approved testing lab before being offered for sale.
"On the other hand, W.A.T.C.H. does not test the toys in its report to check their safety; their allegations appear to be based on their misrepresentation or misunderstanding of the mandatory toy standards. And in some cases, they call certain items “toys” when they are not.
"Unable to find product defects on the market as a result of these strict U.S. toy standards and test requirements, W.A.T.C.H. tends to focus on products with safety instructions and warnings, as if responsibly providing safety information to consumers is somehow an indication that a product cannot be safe for use or for sale, when the opposite is true.
"Each year, we find these lists by W.A.T.C.H. to be needlessly frightening to parents; each year these allegations do not stand up to scrutiny when reviewed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Safety issues are not uncovered by the group’s “gotcha” reporting. But W.A.T.C.H. keeps at it for the media attention it brings to their organization at this time of year.
"Toymakers and The Toy Association are committed to toy safety year-round. These efforts include providing useful tips for families and caregivers to help them choose age-appropriate toys and ensure safe play. For reliable information on toy safety, families can visit www.PlaySafe.org, The Toy Association’s free, year-round resource for parents and caregivers.