BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — World Against Toys Causing Harm, or W.A.T.C.H., has released their annual "Worst Toys" list for the 2019 holiday season, and it includes everything from realistic-looking guns to Nickelodeon slime.
The Massachusetts-based non-profit has been putting out the list since 1973—though representatives from the nation's toy industry call it misleading and needlessly frightening.
W.A.T.C.H. President Joan Siff told WBZ NewsRadio's Kendall Buhl she'd like to see the toy industry and government agencies do more about toy hazards. Short of that, though, the group wants parents to be vigilant about the toys they buy for their children.
"A lot of times, people have a false sense of security that a toy is safe because they see a familiar brand name, or it's bought from a toy store with a well-known name, or they think that there's adequate pre-market testing to make sure that these unsafe toys don't get out there in the first place, and that's not necessarily always the case," she said.
This year, the list includes an electric "submachine gun" that W.A.T.C.H. Executive Director James Swartz says looks too much like a real gun.
"[It's] exactly the type of thing where these types of products are mistaken for the real thing, and tragedies occur as a result," he said.
Some of the toys on the list appear more innocent, like a die-cast school bus.
"The stick-on label talks about a choking hazard, but some of them are sold without the warning, and the hazard is very real," Swartz said. "Those tires can come off relatively easily, and once they do, violate even the industry's own choking hazard standard."
All the toys on the list have warning labels, but Swartz said that shouldn't be taken to mean there's necessarily a safe way to play with the toys. He argues they shouldn't even be sold.
But The Toy Association, a not-for-profit trade association that represents nearly all of the manufacturers whose toys made the W.A.T.C.H. list this year, told the Associated Press that W.A.T.C.H. doesn't run safety tests on the toys themselves, and that any toys sold in the United States are required by law to meet over a hundred safety tests and standards.
The Toy Association recommends parents buy toys from reputable sellers.
(Photo: Kendall Buhl/WBZ NewsRadio)
WBZ NewsRadio's Kendall Buhl (@KBuhlWBZ) reports