It's Summertime! School's out, the sun is shining, and kids are playing outside. Squirt guns, kiddie pools and sports gear all make re-appearances on lawns across America. But some popular toys aren't going to be seen again anytime soon. That's because they proved so dangerous, accident-prone or outright deadly that they've been banned from sale. Here's 10 dangerous Summertime toys from the past that are gone for good.
No “dangerous toy” run-down is complete without talking about Lawn Darts.
These oversized, weighted steel missiles don’t really scream “safe family play”. In a game similar to horseshoes, players try to throw darts into a target. Initially banned prior to the 1970’s, the ban was lifted when production companies promised to sell them as “sports equipment”, not “toys”.
Eight years later, over 6,000 children were on record as going to the hospital with Lawn Dart-related injuries. One child went into a coma after being struck in the head, and another died. When the sale of Lawn Darts was finally re-banned in 1988, the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) told anyone who already owned them to DESTROY them.
Popular in the 1960’s and 70’s, Clackers were just two resin plastic balls attached at either end of a rope. Swing them around to hit each other, and you can create a noise to drive your parents crazy.
For a toy made from only two things, both resulted in kids getting hurt. The rope part could get wrapped about a child’s neck! Hit the balls together hard enough, and they could shatter apart, spraying jagged shrapnel in every direction! They were taken off the American market in 1976.
Released in 1994, toy makers Galoob scored a hit when Sky Dancers dolls hit shelves. The bright-colored fairies didn’t just stand around; you could stick them in a launching base, pull a ripcord, and they’d spread their propeller-like wings and blast off. Eat it, Barbie!
While the toy line and its tie-in cartoon proved wildly popular, the dolls twirling wings were so fast, and flight pattern so chaotic, over 100 reported injuries were tied to Sky Dancers. Teeth were knocked out, bruises were made, and corneas were scratched. Recalled six years after their release, these magical instruments of war were permanently grounded.
In 2012, the series was re-launched with a re-worked design, no word on if kids are still getting beat up by these sparkling missiles.
Aqua Leisure Inflatable Baby Boat
We will let you off the hook right away: No babies died while using the Aqua Leisure Inflatable Baby Boat. But almost thirty babies almost drowned! That’s because the cute, friendly-looking boats had leg straps that would break, sending the baby to the bottom of the pool.
When Aqua Leisure finally went to court, it was revealed they were aware of the problem for six years without issuing any recall. A $650,000 fine later, they took the boats off the market.
Austin Magic Pistol
At first glance, you might think: “Hey, a ping-pong ball gun!” But this is the Austin Magic Pistol, a space-age looking devise that shot not only a ping-pong ball, but a FIREBALL at crazy-high velocity. This was thanks to the loading mechanism, powered by “Magic Crystals” (actually calcium carbide) and a few drops of water. Pull the trigger, and BLAM! You had what could be called the coolest-looking and most incredibly dangerous toy on the block!
But the danger wasn’t just being in the guns path. The flimsy loading chamber (held in place by a thin screw-top lid) would fall off, causing sparks and flames to come from the gun’s rear, onto the shooter. It was pulled from the market, and re-labeled a full-fledged firearm.
Fisher Price Trikes
If the term “genital bleeding” makes you queasy, skip this one. Still here? All right then!
The Fisher-Price line of kids trikes from 2010 looked cute and colorful, with soft edges and smooth plastic. Unless they were riding into traffic, what could a kid get hurt on? See that tiny, pretend “ignition key” just beneath the handlebars? Stop too fast, or hit something with the front wheel, and the rider jolts forward into the key, sometimes resulting in – here it is – genital bleeding.
Toys R' Us Remote Controlled Helicopter
Remote controlled toys can be expensive. Not the Toys R’ Us Remote Controlled Helicopter! Very cheap! Suspiciously cheap! Cheap in a way that would lead to such issues like it “falling apart” or “not flying straight” or “the remote’s battery compartment overheating and catching on fire while the person is holding it”.
Shootin’ Shell Buckle Gun
This is a very…odd one. Mattel’s 1958 Shootin’ Shell Buckle Gun was a toy Derringer held in a childs belt, promising: “Exciting secret ‘No Hands’ firing!” A sort of cowboy/James Bond hybrid, Shootin’ Shell would look like a normal buckle, until the wearer “thrust out their stomach”. Upon doing so, the gun would swing out on a hinge, and both fire a plastic bullet and set off an exploding cap.
If it wasn’t alarming enough having kids thrusting their hips all over the playground like a bunch of Bob Fosse impersonators, the heat caused by the popping caps could cause the wearer’s pants to catch on fire.
Tonka Ride-On Dump Truck
The Tonka Ride-On Dump Truck didn’t even come out of the box before it CAUGHT ON FIRE.
That’s what happened in Jacksonville, Florida in 2017 as grandparents were driving home from the Toys R’ Us. They managed to see the fire, pull over and call the fire department before the Tonka truck fire destroyed their real, non-toy truck. Tonka send out an engineer to check out the toy, give a reimbursement, and take the dump truck off the market.
LOOK AT THIS PICTURE. Who could have guessed that kids could injure themselves on it? Kite Tube was a product in 2006 that was taken off the market almost as soon as it was released. An inflatable device, the tube could rise to 25 feet in the air when towed behind a boat going above 20 miles an hour.
The sheer unpredictability of how it would fly, spin or land in the water made taking a ride a dicey proposition. Landing in water at fast speeds resulted in broken backs, necks, punctured lungs and head trauma. Have a great Summer!