For the average person, looking back on your childhood fills you with nostalgia, especially when thinking about all the fun times you had playing with your favorite toys. For those who were unfortunate enough to have possessed any of the following recalled items, however, “nostalgia” might not be the best term to use. Sure, everyone now realizes how products back in the day such as the Easy-Bake Oven could have easy killed or injured them badly under the right circumstances, but in most of the following cases it actually did. After browsing this list, you’ll certainly be counting your lucky stars that you made it to your adult life in one piece.
Cabbage Patch Kids Snacktime Kid
As if Cabbage Patch Kids weren’t frightening enough already, they had to go and start biting children. Don’t get us wrong, you had to be incredibly dumb and tiny for this to happen, but when that’s who the product was primarily marketed to, it was bound to happen. A lot. Enough, in fact, that Mattel entered them into voluntary recall in 1997 after being released just one year prior. So what was the issue? Designed with a motorized mouth mechanism to mimic chewing, children were supposed to feed the toys fake plastic food but instead began sticking their fingers and hair in instead. Since the motorized intake system had no off switch, this became a pretty pressing issue despite the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) never actually finding any serious safety hazards associated with the dolls.
We wanted to ease you into all this with Cabbage Patch dolls so perhaps you wouldn’t be as disturbed as we moved along to more dangerous products. At least when it comes to lawn darts (sometimes called Jarts), it’s easy to see what the potential issue was right away. First off, they were introduced in the 1970s and were only supposed to be sold to adults. However, few stores actually complied with this, which is why these weighted, steel-tipped accidents waiting to happen wound up being responsible for over 6,000 injuries and the deaths of three children before finally being banned by the CPSC in 1988. You can still buy lawn darts in stores today, but they now come with rounded plastic tips instead of the obviously dangerous steel skewers of old.
Sky Rangers Park Flyer Radio Control Airplane
It’s already scary flying on an actual plane that could explode and kill everyone on board. So when the Estes-Cox Corporation began marketing radio-controlled airplanes which wound up blowing up in the hands of the children back in 2005, the CPSC wasn’t particularly happy about it. Even though the explosions didn’t cause any deaths, 45 incidents were reported concerning temporary ear pain and hearing loss, minor burns to the hands and face, and a couple of cases of eye injuries. Needless to say, the product was taken off the market by the end of 2006.
Sportsstuff WeGo Kite Tube
Speaking of toys that go airborne, the WeGo Kite Tube sounded like the peak of fun and excitement when it came to tubing. Alas, it bit off more than it could chew after nearly 40 separate incidences were reported between its release in October 2005 to its voluntary recall in July 2006. Of the most severe accidents included two deaths, a broken neck and a punctured lung. What could you expect, though, from a 10-foot wide circular inflatable tube designed to fly through the air at heights of up to 15 feet or more before crashing back to the choppy waters below? Well, other than a totally kickass video of someone eating it super hard, of course. You’ll know exactly why this toy was banned forever once you get to the end of said video.
We’re pretty sure everyone had a Sky Dancer or some sort of knockoff growing up. Having said that, we sincerely doubt that most of us considered just how risky these toys actually were for children. When you stop and think about it, they were almost as dangerous as lawn darts. This was proven back in June 2000 when they were finally recalled by the CPSC after six years on the market and over 170 reported incidences of the toys striking children, which in turn resulted in 150 reported injuries. The toys were unpredictable when launched, causing multiple eye injuries, broken teeth, a mild concussion and even a broken rib in one case. See, it’s not always as cute as AFV videos make it seem.
Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab
We probably should have put this at the very end of the list due to how unpredictably dangerous it was, but considered it was only on the market for one year in the early 1950s, it wasn’t as big of a deal as it most certainly would be today. A.C. Gilbert, the inventor of another popularly banned children’s product the Gilbert Glass Blowing Set, released his U-238 Atomic Energy Lab from 1951 to 1952 at the unreasonably high price (at the time) of $50. Marketed as “the most elaborate Atomic Energy educational set ever produced,” it sure stuck to its word in that department, as it contained four Uranium-bearing ore samples with a form inside to order even more. The product was later rebranded and marketed as “radiation poisoning in a box.” It was not a huge seller.
“CSI” Fingerprint Examination Kit
Staying on the subject of cool science toys that were slowly murdering children, the “CSI” Fingerprint Examination Kit was released late in 2007 and would have been a great way to get children of a young age interested in forensics if not for one fatal flaw: the 7 percent of tremolite found in its dusting powder. For those of you who aren’t familiar, tremolite is also known as one of the most lethal forms of asbestos, with even one-time exposure linked to developing lung disease and mesothelioma later in life. China-based manufacturer CBS Consumer Products was asked by the CPSC to remove the product from stores immediately, but opted instead to keep it on the shelves for the Christmas season while the recall was still in negotiation. Fortunately, independent volunteer group Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization filed a civil action lawsuit in the meantime to get the product pulled, but it still took until July 2009 for CBS to finally comply.
From a case of a faulty “CSI” product to one that sounds like it could be a case on “CSI,” Aqua Dots is one of the stranger recalls on this list. Imagine that your young child suddenly became dizzy, vomited, and slipped into a short coma after ingesting a few dozen seemingly harmless beads from a craft playset. You later find out he or she actually got sick because there was gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) in their system. GHB, of course, being the technical name for what is commonly referred to as “the date rape drug.” As it turns out, the adhesive which coated Aqua Dots and made them stick to each other when water was added metabolizes into GHB when ingested, making it quite dangerous if absorbed into the body. Luckily, the product was swiftly recalled and only spent from April to November of 2007 in stores.
Dive sticks are primarily used in swimming pools as a fun way to test your underwater swimming skills. Basically, you throw the colorful numbered sticks in and jump in after them, seeing how many you can grab before resurfacing. The problem was that many of the sticks would remain in an upright position at the bottom of the pool when thrown in, causing an impalement hazard to anyone not paying close enough attention. Sure enough, roughly 365,000 units had to be recalled back in June 1999 for that very reason, with the risk of facial and eye injuries and even rectal or vaginal impalement being a major concern. Dive sticks are still sold today, but since the recall have been redesigned to prevent such dangers.
Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper
We’ve come to the recalled toy that started it all. The photo we’ve used isn’t the actual product in question, but the aftermath of said product. As you can see on the front of this particular Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper box, it specifically notes that the missiles are not included and that the launchers do not work. This is because on the original 1978 model there actually was a tiny plastic missile which you were able to shoot. Sadly, a 4-year-old child got a hold of one and shot a missile down his own throat, suffocating him. His parents sued Mattel, the product was recalled, and since then choking hazard warnings have been a staple of all toys with tiny pieces.