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A LEGAL LOOK: As Christmas Nears, Some Dangerous Toys You Want to Avoid

By Richard Wilson

Especially now as Christmas nears and as well throughout the year, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) maintains a vigilant watch over safety issues with toys that may pose a threat of harm, injury or even, in some cases, death. This agency is instrumental in warning consumers of those products that cause danger resulting from defective parts, choking hazards or dangerous substances or materials such as lead-based paints which exceed safe levels of toxicity. The CPSC website is very informative, easy to read and follow, and is located at http://www.cpsc.gov/index.html. There you may find “recall” lists and contact information for returning merchandise and obtaining refunds.

This year, however, there are some toys that may not have been detected yet by the CPSC. Strictly as a bogus public service announcement and intended solely as a farcical listing, I thought that readers should be aware of several of the dangerous and inappropriate toys available this year that may have not yet appeared on the CPSC list.

There is the Sarah Palin doll. The problem with this doll is that her wardrobe pieces, which are included in and must be purchased with the doll package, are very expensive. The talking version of the doll speaks in a very misinformed manner which could mislead children into believing, for instance, that Africa is a country. Also, the teeth on the doll are very sharp, like that of a pit bull.

There is the Barack Obama doll. This doll is relatively new on the market, and is sold with an accompanying doll, Joe the Plumber. Joe the Plumber’s tools are small and those tools as well as the Barack doll’s feet may get lodged in mouths presenting a choking hazard. This is a problem similar to the George “Dubya” Puppet available over the last eight years, which after January 2009 will no longer be on the market.

There is a new investing and banking board game where children can pretend to be big-shot financial managers controlling billions and billions of dollars with the goal of attempting to hoard as much of the money as possible for themselves. Unfortunately, there was a recall because many of the games were marketed and sold without adequate paper play money to distribute to the players.

Numerous domestic toy cars, trucks, minivans, and SUV’s have been deemed dangerous and defective because their wheels have fallen off and it seems the entire industry is near imminent collapse. However, foreign manufacturers of toy cars, trucks, minivans, and SUV’s are offering significant discounts, cash back offers and other incentives to persuade consumers to purchase their products instead.

Many video games have been listed as dangerous because of the extensive violence, crime, drug use and strong sexual content depicted in them. Instead, it is recommended that consumers opt for musical, guitar, and rock band games which depict the artists performing only music, rather than the violence, crime, drug use and sexual misconduct, for which many of the artists themselves are known, have been arrested for, or died from.

Toy guns, toy knives, toy battle batons, toy swords, toy armor, toy grenades, toy rocket launchers, toy military planes, tanks and battleships, paint ball guns, BB guns, slingshots, darts, toy professional wrestlers, mean looking alien and other action figurines and all similar toys or products are much too dangerous, and sway children’s minds towards violence.

Also, any toy vehicles (cars, trucks, farming or heavy construction equipment) as well as planes, trains, boats or ships (diesel or gas) are inappropriate because they foster the idea that emission of dangerous green house gases is acceptable and not a global climate or environmental issue. Toy animals, of course, depict the unnecessary and inhumane killing of animals and general disregard of life on the planet Earth.

Books of wizardry, fantasy, fairy tales and the like present the risk of children developing a false sense of reality.

Shopping for appropriate gifts for the holiday season this year will certainly be a challenge.

About the Author: Richard Wilson is an attorney in Moundsville. His offices, Wilson Law Offices, are located at 515 Jefferson Avenue, and he can be reached at 304-843-2300 or at www.wilsonlawoffices.

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