It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. We’ve come pretty far since the days of lead paint and sharp edges, but not too long ago, the playthings we brought into our homes were anything but child-friendly. From toxic radiation and explosive materials to actual drugs and disease, these dangerous toys are the last thing you’d want to see your child open on their birthday.
Straight from a horror movie plot, the Cabbage Patch Snacktime Kid was literally chewing on children. The toy, which had a mechanical mouth, ended up biting quite a few fingers before it was finally recalled.
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In 1962, Disney’s quirky character known as Flubber was transformed into a children’s toy to promote the movie Son of Flubber. The toy, created by Hasbro, was a huge success — until it began causing Folliculitis, a disease of the pores that spreads rashes.
In May 2014, three children were swooped into the air when their bounce house was caught in a gust of wind. The house eventually reached a 50-foot elevation, though thankfully the children only fell from around 15 feet. They survived with serious injuries.
The popular ’00s toy Aqua Dots puzzled scientists; when children ingested the colorful beads, they experienced bouts of dizziness, nausea, and even passed out. As it turns out, the binding ingredient in the toy metabolized into GHB, otherwise known as the date rape drug!
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Even modern toys have their issues. The smash hit holiday item of 2015 was the futuristic hoverboard — until half a million ended up getting recalled when countless units burst into flames while charging. One child was even killed!
The 1950s were a dangerous time to be a kid, and the Atomic Energy Lab “toy’ didn’t help. The set came with three “low level” radiation sources and items like a Geiger counter to experiment with. Yes, parents actually allowed this!
Anyone who grew up around pools remembers diving for these colorful weighted sticks. You would think drowning would be the danger associated with this toy, but on six different occasions, reports emerged of these diving sticks malfunctioning and actually impaling their victims.
This attempt by Barbie to teach kids responsible pet ownership went horribly wrong. Tanner came complete with metal poop, allowing Barbie to use her magnetic scooper to pick it up. Unfortunately, if a toddler ingested Tanner’s droppings, intestinal damage was guaranteed.
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Along with a number of other dangerous ideas and inventions, the 1950s gave us the Austin Magic Pistol, which used calcium carbide to launch ping pong balls. The problem? When the “toy” got wet, the calcium carbide reacted with the water to cause a mild explosion.
We Are The Mighty
Whoever thought up lawn darts clearly didn’t think their marketing as a children’s toy all the way through. Needless to say, the oversized “jarts” caused countless injuries and were actually banned outright by the U.S. government in 1988.
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The summer sensation that took the nation by storm in the ’90s was actually much more dangerous for adults than children. The added height and weight of adults and teens made them more susceptible to neck and spinal injuries, including paralysis!
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If you grew up in the ’90s, you probably remember Burger King’s Pokémon toys. While they were a huge hit with kids, the key chain attached to the Poké Ball could cover a small child’s nose and mouth, which actually led to two deaths.
You may remember this backyard toy from the ’90s being a great summer activity. Unfortunately, due to the lack of a spreader bar, the mini hammock led to the deaths of 12 children by strangulation in 1996 alone, prompting massive recalls.
Barbie has seen a number of questionable variations over the years, though none failed as miserably as Rollerblade Barbie. When rolled too fast over a flat surface the rollerblades would spark, leading to accidental fires and even several deaths.
What was designed to be a safe way to teach kids the joy of baking turned out to be an utter disaster. The Easy-Bake Oven has been recalled a number of time over the years, most recently due to young children getting their fingers caught — and cooked — in the oven.
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While they were quite graceful in flight, Sky Dancers ended up doing more harm than good. After hundreds of complaints of eye injuries, facial lacerations, and even a mild concussion, 8.9 million units were recalled and production was halted for good.
This one needs no explanation — other than how someone actually approved it for production. The small crossbow was capable of piercing a can from 60 feet away and caused a rash of injuries in China in 2017.
Popular in the ’70s, acrylic clackers would up being recalled because of their hazardous design. When heavily used, the acrylic balls would crack and shatter, causing serious eye injuries.
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Every year, 90,000 Americans are hospitalized from colliding or falling incorrectly while using a trampoline, resulting in broken bones, paralysis, and even death. Many homeowner insurance policies even ban them because of potential injury risks.
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Now considered a weapon, the “wrist rocket” was once marketed as a children’s toy. Needless to say, a “toy” capable of launching projectiles at a high velocity was bound lead to some serious injuries, and an age restriction for buying slingshots was eventually imposed.
Kids will always be fascinated by magnetism…if only it weren’t so dangerous. Buckyballs weren’t even marketed towards young kids, but that doesn’t mean children didn’t play with, eat, and end up in the ER because of them.
A toy should get better over time, not worse. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with the Polly Pocket Quik Clik design, and you can probably guess why: The tiny magnets used to “quik clik” were easily accessible…and easily swallowed.
Yep, even today’s toys are controversial. These weren’t just irritating to parents and teachers everywhere. With small parts that are easily detachable, it doesn’t take much for a fidget spinner to become a choking hazard in the wrong hands.
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Again with the magnets! This building set that relied on magnets seemed like every kid’s dream, but 28 injuries and one death later, it had turned into a nightmare. The moral: Don’t swallow magnets…and keep them out of reach of children.
If there was ever a toy that needed to be retired, it’s toy guns. Although these were much more popular in the ‘50s, kids today still want to live out their cowboy fantasies by shooting ping-pong balls, water streams, and even caps at dangerously close distances.
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This was the 1950s version of Twister that had kids trying to spell out the word “love” with their hands and feet. Love was just a little too ~saucy~ for parents of the time, and it was eventually discontinued.
It’s exactly what it sounds like: you try to grab as many rings dangling around a player’s belt as possible. This sounds like a fun but dangerous game, especially if you accidentally-on-purpose get tackled one too many times.
If cleaning was your version of a wild Friday night, then you played Bucket of Fun! You’d put plastic balls in a bucket and then they’d erupt back out of the bucket, over and over again until actually cleaning your room was preferable.
This 1967 board game had one neat-o feature that kids loved: It was glow-in-the-dark! Green Ghost, which was ripped off of The Addams Family, was meant to be spooky, chill-inducing fun for all ages.
With this game, five enthusiastic players used “Bee Launchers” to keep a fake bee up in the air for as long as possible. The game ended when someone got bored and/or when the plastic insect inevitably ended up under the couch.
A game that involves killing fake animals? Count us in! That was the basis of The Last Straw, where players piled as many sticks of wood on a camel’s back as possible until the camel completely fell apart.
This was totally the kind of game that was fun in the ‘60s, but with its terrifying clown face and head that spins just a little too quickly, something tells us it wouldn’t be quite so popular today.
The most enjoyable part about Oh, Nuts! is the name. You’d basically just open up a bunch of plastic walnuts in search of the one containing a marble. Played with a bunch of rowdy friends, though, this game could get pretty exciting!
If you, too, have an irrational fear of spilling beans on the floor, then we may finally know where it comes from. This game was all about balancing a scale so you don’t, you know, spill the beans. It was all very stressful!
Ah, your childhood favorite! Yes, this was the name of a board game for kids. Yes, it tested your 10-year-old knowledge on current events and politics. Yes, your parents only bought it to trick you into learning something.
You’re never too young to learn a lesson or two from “gambling expert” John Scarne! Scarney was actually the name of the board itself, in which you could play up to 40 games where you “outmaneuver” and “immobilize” opponents. Sounds…fun?
We don’t know about you, but Talk to Cecil makes us want to do anything other than, well, talk to Cecil. Cecil was, after all, a talking hand puppet that came with its own “sound unit,” which isn’t creepy at all.
“The game that gives you a funny feeling,” Feeley Meeley involved putting your hands inside a dark box and trying to guess what secret object was inside. With only 23 objects included in the game, it got old real fast.
Does Swack! sound fun to you? Well, it really appealed to kids back in the ‘60s, even though it literally involved putting your fingers in a mousetrap. Will you bleed this round? Only the truly brave were worthy enough to find out!
People back in the day really loved weird explosive games, huh? Kaboom! was definitely unpredictable, especially since the whole game was players seeing who could blow up a balloon with the most air before it popped.
This was a wackier version of The Game of Life, and you never knew what degree of weird your story would be. Sometimes you’d wind up prospecting for uranium, other times you’d be lost in the Bermuda Triangle — such is life!
This was a PSA in game form, with cards saying things like, “A stranger offers you a ride in his dirty black van. Go back five spaces and pick a Therapy card.” It definitely seems like a game parents forced kids to play!
It’s hard to say what the object of this game was, but apparently its star, Pinky Lee, was a huge selling point in the 1950s. All we know is, whoever had the most hot-dogs at the end was victorious.
“Funny fingers everywhere!” the Funny Finger game proudly states on its cover, but this game sounds more creepy than fun. From what we can gather, players would stick their fingers through the “fence” and match them up with other players.
Only the coolest parents would let you play Cold Feet, which involved spraying water everywhere. When the gun actually shot water on a player, you were usually the poor, unsuspecting victim, and not the person you were aiming for!
Some of these board games were real head-scratchers, but they seem tame compared to old-school toys. It almost makes sense for games from the ’50s or ’60s to be unintentionally dangerous or inappropriate, but what’s the excuse for these more modern toys?
1. Rollerblade Barbie: The wheels on Barbie and Ken’s skates work like a lighter’s mechanism, so if they rolled over anything flammable both Barbie and her owner could get seriously burned.
2. Slip ‘N Slides: It is obvious why Slip ‘N Slides seem fun, but that’s also why they’re pretty dangerous. They’re nice for cooling off and sliding around in the summer, but sending kids flying down wet hills has danger written all over it.
3. Easy Bake Ovens: Every kid likes toys and every kid likes sweet treats, but it doesn’t seem very safe to let small children handle hot objects by themselves. Since they first came out, these ovens have been made a lot safer, but we still recommend adult supervision.
4. Creepy Crawlers: The idea was to make molds of insects and bake them to life in the oven, but the result was chemically burned fingers and melted plastic all over the floor.
5. Trampolines: Yeah, let’s launch kids into the sky. People fall off the sides of these things, land wrong, the springs break, and you can even accidentally (or on purpose) catapult someone off of it.
6. Aquadots: This creative toy makes different shapes out of colored beads, however, the beads were apparently coated in very strong sedatives; so when Aqua Dots fanatics began losing consciousness, the toy had to be recalled in 2007.
7. Sky Rangers Radio-Controlled-Airplanes: Sky Rangers tended to explode when they crashed, and kids tend to lack the finger dexterity to control flying objects. These caused over 50 injuries before they were recalled.
8. Snack Time Cabbage Patch Kids: This beloved children’s toy received an upgrade where you could feed it snacks and it would chomp down whatever you gave it. Sadly, the Kids couldn’t tell carrots from fingers or hair from spaghetti and went off the market.
9. Sky Dancers: They could only do one thing, but they were pretty popular in the early 2000s. You place the fairy on the base, pull a string, and she twirls into the sky. However, if you held the toy too close to your face, it could cause some serious eye damage.
10. Toy Crossbows: If there are two words that definitely don’t belong together, it’s “toy” and “crossbow.” Despite their small size, their shots could have quite an impact, and once kids started loading toothpicks into them, the game was over.
11. Aqua Leisure Baby Inflatables: The leg straps on Aqua Leisure were prone to breaking, leaving the babies to slide out from underneath and putting them all in danger of drowning.
12. Austin Magic Pistol: This weapon that should have never been given to a child used calcium carbide to launch ping pong balls. But, if any water got into the gun, it would literally explode.
13. Moon Boots: The problem with these stylish stompers? Well, much like regular platform shoes, one wrong move can twist your ankles or make you kiss asphalt. Just stay on the ground, folks.
14. Magnetix: Lego is incredibly successful because kids love to build and create, so naturally, RoseArt execs thought, kids would love building objects out of magnets…until the magnets started coming loose and children began choking!
15. Mini Hammocks: The idea of a mini-hammock was that it was light and easy to store, so it didn’t come with any spreader bars, meaning the net could twist and turn and trap — or suffocate — a child.
16. CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit: Want to know who ate the last of the cookies? Who came into your room while you were at school? You could use the CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit to find out…except it contained a powder full of asbestos. Recall!
17. Swing Wing: This helmet was designed and sold to kids in the 1960s; while the youths loved it, it was quickly recalled because, after all, nothing says “fun” like a cerebral hemorrhage and spinal injuries!
18. Hoverboards: A family in Louisiana lost their home to the flames after charging their 12-year-old son’s new toy. These vehicles can also explode right under your feet!
19. Lawn darts: Imagine darts, but they’re huge and being thrown around by kids in your backyard. Yeah. It’s harrowing. Throwing big sharp objects through the air is just no safe way to play.
20. Click-clacks: The two acrylic balls attached to the strings slap against each other and, well, click-clack. However, they weren’t always made sturdily enough and would sometimes shatter, shooting shrapnel towards the clacker’s eyes.
No matter how much you loved your toys as a kid, dangerous or not, they probably all ended up in the same place: either donated to a charity or stuffed inside a box in the attic. The thing is, those old toys of yours might just be more than keepsakes from a bygone childhood.
1. Garbage Pail Kids: These collectible trading cards, known for their gross-out gags, can fetch as much as $300 per card. In one instance, an entire pack of 1985 Garbage Pail Kids Series One sold for $4,000!
2. Pez dispensers: Several of these novelty candy holders have sold for thousands of dollars over the years, including one known as “Astronaut B” from 1982. It earned its previous owner $32,000 on eBay!
3. The original Monopoly: This board game has been a staple ever since its conception in 1933 by Charles Darrow, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, in 2011, the original hand-drawn version sold for a whopping $146,500! Collect $200 and go, please!
4. Furby: This bizarre yet amazingly popular robotic toy from the late 1990s can sell for around $900 today if it’s still in the original packaging. The question is: who would actually want one? Dah-ee-tah!
5. Game Boy: Hand-held gaming has advanced considerably since the birth of Nintendo’s Game Boy in 1989, but if you have one in mint condition, you could make a few hundred dollars. And if you own a special version like the Game Boy Light, you could make over $1,500!
6. Hot Wheels: More than 4,000,000,000 of these tiny toy cars have been made since their 1968 debut, so only a few are worth anything. However, if you have a prototype like a “Volkswagen Beach Bomb,” you can make a cool $125,000.
7. Beanie Babies: Much has been made about the rapid peak and sharp decline of this toy line’s popularity, but some hardcore fans are still willing to pay a great deal for the rare ones. For example, a 1997 First Edition Princess Diana Beanie Bear may be worth $12,000.
8. Pokemon cards: This franchise burst onto the international scene in the late 1990s, and since then, its fanbase has only grown. Some of the more rare cards will now fetch thousands of dollars at an auction.
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9. Lite Brite: There have been many different variations of this toy since the peak of its popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. Nonetheless, an original, mint-condition version can sell for over $100 these days.
10. 1978 Luke Skywalker action figure: The Star Wars franchise’s popularity seems to show no signs of slowing down, even after so many years since the 1977 debut of the original film. It’s no wonder that, in 2015, this old Luke Skywalker toy sold for $25,000!
11. First edition Pound Puppies plush: This 1980s fad has faded, but a rare first edition Pound Puppy can still make you about $5,000! Anyone who owned one of these back in the day should probably start digging through the attic.
12. Cabbage Patch Kids: Pat and Joe Prosey boasted a large collection of the most expensive dolls out there. They owned more than 5,000 Cabbage Patch Kids before selling them all for a cool $360,000.
13. Sega Genesis: If you have one of these classic video game console – and it still works – you can make up to $2,000! Not bad for those countless hours playing Sonic the Hedgehog.
Diego Torres Silvestre / Flickr
14. Fisher Price Push Cart Pete: It cost just 50 cents in 1936, but if you still have one of these toys (and it’s in good condition), you may have a surefire way to make $3,000! Isn’t that something?
15. 1982 Skeletor action figure: There are still plenty of die-hard Masters of the Universe fans out there, so you could make over $2,000 from selling one of these classic toys to them… as long as it’s in mint condition and still in the box.
8BitsFromAnAlligator / YouTube
16. Happy Meal toys: These McDonald’s promotional items are not all created equal, but the most collectible toys among them, like these Disney characters from 2002, can sell for as much as $300 each.
17. Talkboy: Created for and popularized by the film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, this tape recorder toy can now sell for over $200. That’s enough money to draw the attention of the Sticky Bandits!
Onetwo1 / Wikimedia Commons
18. Lionel’s Pennsylvania “Trail Blazer” train set: Dating all the way back to 1934, the “Standard Gauge” version of this beautiful vintage toy can net you a whopping $250,000!
19. 1980s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Figures: The Heroes in a Half Shell are still going strong all these years after their 1984 debut. In fact, mint-condition action figures from the peak of their popularity can fetch between $600 and $5,000!
20. Vinyl Caped Jawa: One of these could earn you upwards of $5,000, but beware: if the cape is cloth, as all versions released after the toy’s 1978 debut are, you won’t make nearly as much. The real deal has to be made of vinyl!