Jordan's Page of Useless Babble

Well, this is Christmas. In case you don't know, toys are pretty big this time of year. And who doesn't love toys really? They're great! Every year, new innovations mean that toys keep getting more sophisticated and, quite frankly, much cooler. In just over 50 years, we've gone from wooden trains and cork-guns to toys that can interact with themselves or that are becoming much closer to a home animatronic system.

But, see here's the thing: kids are dumbasses. There's no real nice way to put it. They just haven't developed the intelligence (and some never will) needed to safely interact with their environment, including their toys. They put things in their mouths, or put their little hands where little hands shouldn't go. Soon enough, there's a product recall and we're no longer allowed to enjoy something because little Timmy lost the tip of his finger.

Let's now take a fond look back at 10 toys that we can no longer play with because some dumb kid had to go figure out a way to injure themselves on them.

Feel free to take out your frustrations on the nearest toddler.

10. Snack Time Cabbage Patch Kid

Released: 1996
Recalled: 1997

Dolls are...well, pretty boring. If you have an imagination, they can certainly be loads of fun, since you can make-believe anything with them, but if you're a boring kid, you're pretty screwed. To help combat childhood ennui, toy companies come out with new dolls every year with new gimmicks that help make them more realistic, and thus less boring.

In the fall of 1996, Mattel (remember that name, because it's going to come up quite a bit here) which had bought the Cabbage Patch Kids brand from Hasbro two years earlier decided to try out a new gimmick, hoping that they could strike riot-worthy gold with a new variation of the once insanely popular toy. Their idea? What if you had a doll, that like, ate food? That would be so awesome.

Cassandra demands an offering puny mortal.
Cassandra demands an offering puny mortal.

So, the new Snack Time Cabbage Patch Kid dolls were released, complete with several articles of plastic food. Pretend mommies could hand feed the dolls, which would 'chew' it using a set of robotic jaws. The food would then fall down into the doll where it could be safely retrieved from a compartment.

There were just two problems. First, Mattel didn't think to include an On/Off switch or a way to reverse the motion. Secondly, kids stick their fingers in just about everything.

How dangerous was it?
A lot of kids decided it was a great idea to put their fingers in the mouth of the dolls. The dolls ate the fingers, and since there was no way to reverse the motion, and not a lot of parents were keen on the idea of just amputating their kids fingers and retrieving them from the back compartment afterwards, kids had to be taken to the hospital to remove ravenous dolls from their hands. Not only that, but some kids figured out a way to get their hair eaten, and there were reports of children losing chunks of hair and scalp to the monstrous beasts.

So what happened?
By January of 1997, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a voluntary refund program. Send the doll back to Mattel, and get $40. Then the parents could use the money to buy their kids a toy that wasn't quite so consumed with the hunger of human flesh.

9. Munchkin Bathtub Subs

Released: 2009
Recalled: 2010

I had to talk about these guys again, after I briefly covered them as part of the reasons I'm scared shitless of Christmas. Why? Because under that smiling yellow exterior lies a heart of pure fucking evil.

These little toy subs are actually pretty cool. They're battery operated and use a little water pump to move the bastard all around the tub, like a little friendly, smiley yellow submarine, which of course it is. I mean, look at it! It's adorable!

I'm back fuckers!
I'm back fuckers!

The problem is the water pump, which draws in water from the bottom of the toy. It was a little too powerful, and had a tendency to suck up loose skin. Now, most toddlers don't have that much loose skin. It's not like their in septuagenarians or anything.

How dangerous was it?
The problem is, the kind of skin that's apt to get sucked into the water jet is the kind of skin that you definitely don't want to get sucked into any kind of machinery. There were 19 reports of lacerations to the genital regions of boys, one of which required medical attention. That smiley little bastard was cutting kids in the junk.

So what happened?
A little under a year after being first released, the sub was voluntarily recalled. Munchkin, to their credit also offered a mail-in replacement toy. To this date, no reports of crazed mohels using these toys have surfaced.

8. Aqua Dots

Released: 2007
Recalled: 2007

Aqua Dots, also known as Bindeez in their homeland of Australia, are little plastic beads that bond together when exposed to water. While this might seem like a really stupid idea, they do let the more artistically inclined kids make sculptures out of the beads.

So, it's a pretty unique craft. That seems harmless enough. It's not like it's a wood burning kit and some kid's going to impale his eye on a hot soldering iron. What's the worst that a kid could do? Eat the beads?

Eat me, I'm delicious!
Eat me, I'm delicious!

Well, kids ate the beads. Normally, this would not be a problem, as the beads were supposed to coated in 1,5-pentanediol, which is non-toxic and perfectly safe. The problem is that the Chinese manufacturer decided to replace the perfectly safe, non-toxic chemical with 1,4-butanediol. When ingested, this chemical metabolizes into gama-hydroxybutryic acid. For those of you out there who aren't rapists, it's also known as GHB.

Notice that I mentioned the word rapist above. GHB used as a date-rape drug. And kids were eating it. So, why on Earth would the manufacturer make the switch? Could it be because the non-toxic chemical costs between three to seven times as much as the date-rape version?

How dangerous was it?
You read the part about the chemical metabolizing into a date-rape drug right? In Australia, two children were hospitalized after eating a large number of beads. In the States, there were a couple of reports of children eating beads, which caused dizziness, vomiting and eventually falling into a comatose state. By the time of the recall, there were approximately 9 reports of these kinds of incidents in the USA, all requiring hospitalization.

So what happened?
Thankfully there were no long-term issues caused by the GHB overdoses the children suffered. In the United States, the toys were recalled in November of 2007, a mere seven months after their release, with a replacement offer for either new, non-toxic beads or a different toy. In Australia, non-toxic beads were available by March 2008, after a ban had been lifted.

As a result of the bad publicity caused by the recall, the toys were renamed, and can now be found as Pixos in the US or Beados in Australia. Also, to prevent the toys from being ingested, they've been coated with Bitrex, a chemical that gives them an extremely bitter taste. Thanks kids, for keeping us from being able to eat plastic beads.

7. Sling 'em-Fling 'em Wrestling Ring

Released: 1985
Recalled: 1991

If you grew up in the 80s, you knew about the World Wrestling Federation. It was the era of Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage and the André the Giant were larger than life figures locked in an epic struggle between good and evil that captured the hearts and imaginations of boys everywhere. So, of course there were going to be toys, specifically the Wrestling Superstars line from LJN.

Since toys can't fling themselves around at each other in steroid-powered bouts of kayfabe machismo, there had to be a ring that would help them do it. Enter, the Sling 'em-Fling 'em Wrestling Ring, a plastic wrestling ring with elastic bands that could be used to launch the wrestler toys at one another.

Elastic bands had to be the cause right? They probably broke off and hit some kid in the eye, or some kid decided to use the Sgt. Slaughter GI Joe toy in it and flung a hard-plastic projectile at their friend.

The real Sgt. Slaughter would also cause some real damage.
The real Sgt. Slaughter would also cause some real damage.

Well, no. The elastics weren't the problem at all. In order to keep the ring from falling apart under the pressure of the elastics, the posts that supported them had to be fairly rigid.

How dangerous was it?
LJN and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission received four reports of young boys injuring themselves by falling on the wrestling ring. In each case, the boys, aged between 6 and 10, were injured when they were impaled by one of the four corner posts, which caused severe injury.

So what happened?
By the time the wrestling ring was recalled LJN was out of the toy business and was working on creating crappy games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Parents were asked to throw the toy out, or at the very least, just break the posts off, ruining a perfectly good toy, because some kid couldn't stop running around.

6. Sky Dancers

Released: 1994
Recalled: 2000

Sky Dancers were one of several lines of toys released in the late 80s and early 90s that were advertised heavily through a Saturday morning cartoon. The Sky Dancers were apparently high school students who protected their kingdom from a usurper named Sky Clone using a Sky Swirl Stone that gave them their awesome powers.

What were those powers? Spiraling high up into the sky and then spinning back down, all without throwing up. Well, at least it wasn't the Visionaries.

Worst. Cartoon. Ever.
Worst. Cartoon. Ever.

Galoob, who created the toys, understood the dangers of creating a toy that was designed to fly up, and created them with foam rubber wings to protect children from the wrath of the Sky Dancers. Since they're on the list, you can probably already tell that this didn't quite work out as expected.

The foam wings did provide a small measure of protection, because the original plan of making them out of razor blades would have been just too dangerous. They also had a tendency to fly off in unexpected directions, because it's really hard to measure the expected trajectory of a flying ballerina. Since their release during the Christmas season of 1994, there were over 170 reports of Sky Dancers striking somebody, and 150 reports of injuries sustained as a result.

How dangerous was it?
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, injuries included scratched corneas, temporary blindness, broken teeth, facial lacerations that required stitches and at least one concussion and one broken rib. Those flying ballerinas play for keeps.

So what happened?
The Sky Dancers' reign of terror was finally ended 6 years later, when they were recalled in June of 2000. In exchange for the dolls, Galoob sent customers a Glitter Fun sticker set, which according to one customer had a tendency to open up inside the envelope it was shipped in, spilling glitter all over.

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