29 Real Toys That Were Banned for Being So DangerousFeb 26, 2022
It wasn't the many, many dangers that spelled the end of Little Lady Stove. It was the metal shortage during World War II that saved many children's fingers. Isn't cooking
dangerousenough for children? How about glass blowing? Gilbert was a craft and toy company from the first half of the 20th century, known for the Erector Set and toy trains. But many of their craft kits contain a hidden danger, starting with their glass blowing kit. Glass blowing is
dangerouseven for professionals, as it requires heating the glass to about a thousand degrees Fahrenheit, but it used to be an essential skill for chemistry students: they had to make their own test tubes!
Gilbert decided to train them in this skill from the beginning, with predictable results. The toy, which came with a portable torch to heat the glass, caused many cuts and burns and was soon taken off the market. Gilbert just couldn't stop giving children the opportunity to mutilate themselves. Blowing glass is pretty dangerous, so how about we let the kids make model figures? It sounds nice and safe, which was the goal of the Gilbert Kaster Kit Jr. The problem was that children would not only be painting figures, but they would be making them by pouring molten lead into molds.
This one had many of the same problems as the glass blowing kit: i.e. small children playing with hot flames. To make matters worse, this occurred long before people knew how dangerous lead poisoning was for children. Not surprisingly, this kit was also soon taken off the market. All it takes is for mom to say “stop playing and watch TV.” But Gilbert was about to outdo himself with his most dangerous team to date. In 1950, nuclear technology was the talk of the world, both in terms of weapons of war and internal energy. But that doesn't mean anyone should let the kids in on the fun.
That didn't stop Gilbert from introducing the U-238 Atomic Energy Laboratory, which allowed children to conduct experiments to determine if objects were radioactive. And that meant, you guessed it, the toy actually contained traces of uranium, one of the most dangerous substances on Earth. As soon as word spread, the toy was quickly taken off the market and less than five thousand children were sold. With products like this, it's no wonder Gilbert went out of business in 1967. But dangerous gaming kits are not a thing of the past. What would be a better game for kids than... CSI? The bloody detective thriller was all the rage on CBS in the early 2000s, spawning multiple spin-offs.
The network wanted to get new fans started early, so they introduced the CSI Fingerprint Exam Kit. This allowed children to see their own fingerprints up close thanks to a special fingerprint-removing powder that the toy company touted as the only one used by
realcrime scene investigators. There was only one problem: an additional ingredient in the form of toxic asbestos. Fortunately, the nonprofit Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization blew the whistle early and no would-be detectives were hurt in this toy set. The next toy seemed harmless, but it was anything but! Aqua Dots were a simple craft toy consisting of small colored beads that could be turned into works of art by arranging them and then pouring water on them.
The water activated glue on the beads, permanently fusing them together. A fantastic craft project for rainy days. Wait, why do children vomit? Children always put small things in their mouths, and although the beads were too small to pose a choking hazard, it soon turned out that there had been a huge manufacturing error. The Chinese subcontractors who made the beads had used chemicals that combined to form gamma-hydroxybutyrate, also known as the powerful drug GHB. The companies had been accidentally dosing children and quickly moved to recall the entire line of products in 2007. One rebrand later, they were relaunched as Pixos and Bindeez, and remain on shelves to this day, minus one key ingredient.
The name of the next toy alone should have been a clue. Who wouldn't want a Creepy Crawlers' Thingmaker in their home? Not only was the name of this craft kit vaguely scary, but Mattel's set also posed multiple health risks back in 1964. It was another one of those old-time "
toys" that came with a working oven, which which gave children the opportunity to be burned by an element that was heated to almost two hundred degrees Celsius. Maybe the burn center was secretly funding them. But he made his plastic bugs from a synthetic compound called "plastigoop," which turned out to emit toxic fumes when heated in the oven.
Unsurprisingly, it was pulled from shelves once kids started getting sick, but Mattel never let a bad idea die: they relaunched a safer model ten years later. The following proves that not everything that works for adults works for children. Is there anything better than relaxing in a hammock after a hard day at work? Many children saw Dad relaxing and said, "I would love to have my own hammock." And the toy companies said, "I'd love to get money if you had a hammock of your own." And that's why many companies launched mini hammocks, adapted to children's small bodies by removing the separator bar that kept them separated.
This went horribly wrong, as it turned out that the lack of this feature made it very easy for the hammocks to twist. Not only did countless children become tangled in the hammock or were unceremoniously thrown, but many young children had their hammocks twisted around their necks. After twelve strangulation deaths, companies quickly pulled nearly three million mini hammocks from toy store shelves. And now we turn to the most notorious
toysof all time, and we're starting small. Construction toys are among the most popular toy genres, as any parent who has stepped on a Lego in the middle of the night can attest.
When Magnetix debuted on the market in the early 2000s, magnet-based tubes and blocks were an instant hit. But just like the Polly Pocket set, where the magnets go, pain and recalls follow. Unlike Polly Pocket, the Magnetix sets didn't have a few magnets that could come off: they had hundreds attached to both the pieces and the individual balls that could be used to connect them. As expected, young children began swallowing the loose magnets, causing serious stomach problems. When a toddler died and other children required emergency surgery, Magnetix was quickly taken off the market, but eventually returned with a safer model.
The next one falls on "What exactly did you think was going to happen?" Jet skiing is a risky activity in itself, so naturally some enterprising toy maker thought, "What if you could ride a jet ski, but also fly at the same time?" That led to the introduction of the WeGo Kite-Tube, a plastic disc that was towed behind a speedboat, trapped air beneath the boat, and launched into the air at high speed. It was an exciting activity, but what comes up must come down. The kite tube had no method of controlling it, which meant that the child behind the boat was at the mercy of the wind and the skill of the driver.
Naturally, this soon led to horrible accidents, including two deaths. Soon, the manufacturer recalled the device, but no one could
really say that there was a defect in the toy that was causing it. It was just a bad idea from start to finish. But no toy was more dangerous than this one. It was the 1940s and children's toys were dangerous. Hell, they could just shoot each other with BB guns and their parents would be more likely to yell at them to keep the noise down. Toy makers knew they needed to up their game and they did just that with the Austin Magic Pistol.
Because what did toy weapons need? Real firepower and maybe some fire. The Austin Magic Pistol was equipped with a real combustion device powered by gasoline. As for the “magic crystals” advertised on the box? It was calcium carbide, a dangerous chemical that could cause an explosion when mixed with water. All of this combined to fire a plastic ball more than twenty meters, with an explosive force that could seriously injure or kill a child at close range. It was too dangerous even for the wild and woolly '40s and was no longer on the market by the '50s.
It would not appear again and was eventually classified by the government as a legitimate firearm. Do you want to know more about unusual things that the government
banned? Check out “20 American Foods You Never Knew Were Illegal to Eat.”
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