Annual “Worst Toys” List – 2016

It’s Back!!! I find this annual list both entertaining and disturbing.  Entertaining because, I am amazed at what toymakers will shove at us as the next big thing; and disturbing because these toymakecapturers make things that are not only age inappropriate but just not safe for our kids a lot of times.  Money and profit, it seems, ranks higher than the safety of our kids.  A pity, really; so we, as parents and grandparents, need to be extra careful.

But enough about the carnage, let’s have some fun with this list, shall we!  The annual list of toys NOT to buy comes out every year, as presented by World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H). They have some doozies on here this year, too.  The list usually consists of 10 toys to W.A.T.C.H. out for, but due to space, you’ll only see a few.  Check out these “winners!”  (See the entire list by visiting their website at


¨ Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles Family! (Jazzwaresm LLC) Ages: 2+ or 3+ (varies depending on the packaging) Who doesn’t love a little Peppa Pig, right?? This one comes with a family of four little piggies, ready for the mud.  Unfortunately, these piggies also come with a lot of small parts.  Quick quiz: Where do all things go when you hand them to a toddler? That’s right…Straight to their mouth! The small parts cause a choking hazard and should be kept away from kids under three. Be careful and read the packaging…the warnings vary and can be misleading.


elephant¨ Kids Time Baby Children’s Elephant Pillow! (Kids Time US/Appease Toys) Ages: 3+ Big, fuzzy, plush Elephants are awesome!! This is actually a very cute toy.  Soft and squeezy, tactile, and…oh…wait…Potential for suffocation!  Not so awesome! Although the warning says 3+ to Grownups, the retailer’s website shows an infant snuggling with Mr. Elephant. Seems pretty OK, until you realize just how soft and plush the toy is.  It can block a child’s mouth and suffocate your precious jewel.  This should only be used for the younger ones under parental supervision.  By the way…“Infant pillow[s]” and “any other similar article[s]” which are “intended or promoted for use by children under one year of age” have been banned by the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (16 CFR 1500.18).   So, I guess if the manufacturer slaps a 3+ label on it, it’s suddenly OK! Corporate butt covered! Gotta love those loopholes! Sheesh!


sling¨ Slimeball Slinger! (Diggin Active, Inc.) Ages: 6+ What could possibly go wrong with allowing a 6-yr. old to launch green slimeballs from a big slingshot over 30 feet, at the target of their little heart’s desire, right??  Aside from the label warning to ”never shoot at any person or animal,” we find major potential for bruising and/or eye injury.  No advisory for eye or body protection included at all.  “Merry Christmas, Timmy! We got you a gift certificate to the local medical facility to help cover the impending emergency room bills!”


¨ Banzai Bump ‘n’ Bounce Body Bumpers! (ToyQuest) Ages: 4-12  Slip into that Junior Summo Wrestler suit for a “bumpin’ bump ‘em’ fun time!” Perhaps the first few words on the warning label sums it up:  “WARNING! To avoid risk of serious injury or death…”  Oh, Holy Crap! This can’t be good at all!!  The kidlets will need a lot of extra protection while using these for their head, elbows, knees, hands…Oh, just get body armor!!



¨ Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 Blaster! (Hasbro) Ages: 14+  Everyone knows that teenagers are always the most careful, safety-oriented group of people in the world…NOT! Pretty sure that an ER visit is guaranteed when you pair up most 14-yr-olds with any cool toy that has “Blaster” and “Easy-Load Magazine” and “Precision Battling” in the description. Just sayin’!   Packaging for this toy has no warning label, although the kids depicted do use face and eye protection, which does not come with the toy. You have to buy that separately.  The potential for injury is great, primarily to the eyes.  The ammo for this is small but mighty.  What could possibly go wrong, said no mother ever!


¨ The Good Dinosaur – Galloping Butch! (Tomy) Ages: 3+ He’s a big T-Rex who gallops and makes cool sounds, roars and talks… just like in the movie! Cool!  Except for that puncture wound hazard, this is a great toy for your toddler!    See, Butch has a rigid, sharp pointy tail that can make a hole in your kid’s torso or face if they play a little rough.  3-yr-olds bang things…they throw…Hit…etc. when they play with stuff that makes noise!  It happens!    So, if you purchase this one, make sure you get a gift card to the local Urgent Care Treatment Facility, too. May come in handy!



¨ Peppy Pups! (I-Star entertainment, LLC) Ages: 2+ How cute is this lil’ puppy with “bouncy walking action?” Looks pretty harmless until you consider the 31” corded leash that can wrap around your toddler’s neck, thus creating a strangulation hazard.  Bad dog! Bad!




¨ Flying Heroes Superman Launcher! (TPF Toys, LTD) Ages: 4+   How could this be bad?  It’s Superman!  The Man of Steel comes with a launcher for kids as young as 4-yrs-old.  (Again…Note the word “launcher” mixed in with the age requirement of 4+!) Little Johnny and Susie are “encouraged” to “Grip it and rip it!”  Oh, boy!! Safety instructions say to launch only at arm’s length and away from your face. Considering a 4-yr-old’s arm is maybe 2 feet long tops…Perhaps it’s not a good idea for young kids!  Can you hear it now? “Look! Up in the shy…It’s a bird! It’s a Plane!” No! It’s…the Paramedic coming to give treatment to your kid because Superman just accidently launched into his/her face!


baby¨ Baby Magic Feed & Play Baby! (New Adventures LLC, LTD) Ages: 2+   OK…This is quite possibly the creepiest doll face in a long time…Looks like a Space alien!  And what’s up with the Seinfeld-worthy “man hands” on this doll?!?  Kinda rivals the “ICK” factor for me of your basic Chucky doll!  Look at those eyes and those paws, people! It’s not the scary doll that is the concern, but the accessories that come with it.  You get the high Chair, the baby bottle, the blanket, food dish and “interactive spoon” whatever the heck that means!  All I can figure is that the spoon is just under 3’ long, skinny, and an instant choking hazard if your little sweetness puts it in his/her mouth!  (Really hoping this is not the “interactive” of which they speak!)  Oh, and the warning label says “Potential for ingestion injuries.”  You may want to just skip creepy, big hands doll altogether!  (Seriously!  Look at those eyes and those paws, man!)



¨ Warcraft DOOMHammer! (Jakks Pacific, Inc.)   Ages: 6+   Seriously??? Age 6 with a hammer is never a good idea!!!  Ask anyone who actually has a 6 yr. old if this is ever a good idea!! “Feeling the power of the horde” can hurt like crazy from potential impact injuries and a choking hazard from the small parts. One more thing:  Although the age recommendation states 6+ yrs. old, the warning label states “not suitable for children under 36 months.”  Um…I’m no math genius, but I’m pretty sure that “36 months” is 3 years shy of 6 years old, Mr. Label Writer!!



Some real doozies, huh?? As you head out to buy those Christmas presents, give an extra look at this year’s W.A.T.C.H. list. In fact, save their website ( to your favorites and consult it yearly…Especially if you have younger kids. Just because it looks fun and they want it, doesn’t mean it is the safest thing for them.

As parents and grandparents, we are their safety net. At the same time, we expect that toys are safe, but greed and design problems remain in the toy manufacturing industry.

Be vigilant. Read the labels.  Make wise choices for the little ones you love the most!  They’re worth the effort!

Merry Christmas to your family from mine!



Critter Control in the Office!

Yeah…It seems that my workplace has Mice!  Since I am the editor of the monthly Safety and Health Newsletter for our office, I thought perhaps others have encountered similar issues.  (You may see future articles here that were written for the office.  I try to keep it short, sweet, fun and informative.

We’re also in the process of getting new carpeting in the cubicle jungle, so all things must be packed up out of all drawers and shelves so the contractors can easily lift the cubicles and thus, remove the old carpet and lay the new carpet underneath.  Two words:  BIG FUN!!!  (Actually not so much!)

The move is showing us all kinds of signs of possible infestation!  It also makes us clean up our clutter, so there; a plus side, I guess!It’s oh-so-pleasant when you find droppings or even worse, a dead mouse carcass among the files!

So…This is the missive I sent out to my peeps.  May it help you should you find yourself in the similar situation.

The only mouse I need at my desk should be attached to my computer! Yeah…In case you haven’t noticed, we have a little problem with mice at ERO! Some have found them staring back from an open drawer, some have found “gifts” left behind on our desk, and some have had the pleasure of the carnage of a trapped mouse in their area.  YUCK!  All around!

Mice are only cute in Cartoons, bro!! (No…Really… Mickey is a MYTH!) Mice are destructive, dirty miceand can get into everything and anything, even very tiny spaces.  They multiply rapidly, leaving feces and urine all over the place. (Still think they’re cute??)  Mice spread disease and bacteria, chew through wires and files.  In short, they are neither fun nor cute!

How do you know if you “gots critters?”  Oh…You’ll know! Here are a few signs:

* “Nibbled” food boxes/bags

* Chewed paper or files

* Mouse droppings/urine in drawers or on your desk

* Unusually musky odor/stale smell.

* Pieces of food wrappers or crumbs in the corner of your desk or behind your PC

(Let’s Recap…EW!) Keeping your desk clean and open-food-container-free will help keep critters at bay.

Hanta Virus, Your New Mouse, and You! Did I mention Mice carry all kinds of diseases? (Rats, mice, etc. were responsible for spreading Black Death/Bubonic Plague back in the 1300s. How fun was THAT, right??)

Mice, walking on your desk, in your desk drawers, eating your snacks, etc. can potentially pass the Hanta Virus onto humans via their feces, urine, saliva, etc. Oh, and it can be fatal if not treated.mouse-peering

Hanta Virus symptoms begin one-to-six weeks from inhaling the virus and include 3-5 days of flu-like illness, with fever, soreness, headaches, nausea/vomiting, and fatigue; then, eventual shortness of breath and fluid in the lungs, followed by a hospital stay.

The virus eventually dies off, but it varies, depending on environment, humidity, sun exposure, etc. Bottom line: ALL droppings should be treated as if they are one, big virus per the WA State Dept. of Health. I suggest bleach wipes…LOTS and LOTS of bleach wipes!!

   If you don’t feed them, they won’t come!  (Apologies to Field of Dreams!) Prevention is the key! To help keep mice under control, keep your area clean! (Duh! No-brainer, right??)   Store food in good plastic containers (not Ziploc baggies…They chew right through those!). Also, wipe down your desk often with bleach wipes.

The alternative is to have traps set.  Just be prepared to find a dead mouse in the vicinity of your cubicle!  Pretty gross, but effective!  By the way, we can’t use poison for several reasons, including the obvious mousetrap-e1361949103687health risk to us humans and having a mouse ingest the poison then crawl off and die somewhere we can’t find him.  (Can you imagine the smell of that after a few days?  Yuck!)

WARNING: Those Aren’t Caraway Seeds!!  We’re just a few droppings shy of a Hanta Virus, people!   That means we MUST keep our respective areas clean and neat, which takes a group effort to help get rid of the critters from our building.

(SOURCES:   House Mice     Hanta Virus)


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