Ten toys ranging from a one-dollar play sword to a $100-plus motorized riding toy are dangerous and should be kept out of children's reach, a consumer advocate said.
"Toys that maim and kill still flood the marketplace," lawyer Edward Swartz said Tuesday in releasing his 17th annual pre-Christmas "10 Worst Toys" list and urging the government to impose stricter toy safety standards.But a Consumer Product Safety Commission spokeswoman defended the government's efforts.
"We do what we can with the resources we have," said Anne Pavlich. She said the government doesn't clear toys for sale but depends on people like Swartz "to let us know which toys they feel are not safe."
Manufacturers said at least two of the toys listed have been discontinued but may still be on store shelves:
- The "Sweetheart" battery-operated riding toy by Power Wheels, which Swartz blasted for its potential speed of 5 mph and six-volt rechargeable batteries housed in unsecured areas. The product was discontinued because it resembles the three-wheeled all-terrain vehicles banned this year, said Chip Herman, vice president of Kransco Corp., which marketed it.
- The Battle Beasts Warrior Sword, discontinued because of poor sales, said Bernie Epstein, senior vice president of Imperial Toy Corp. of Los Angeles.
One popular nursery toy made Swartz's list, the Johnny Jump Up Baby Exerciser by Evenflo Juvenile Furniture Co. The swinglike seat is clamped to the top of a doorway, and Swartz said an infant could severely be injured by hitting the side of the doorway.
Evenflo officials did not return telephone calls from The Associated Press.
Toy weapons under fire by Swartz included Guarantee Distributors' .22 Caliber Pellet Firing Target Pistol and the Challenger Rubberband Target Shooter, made by the Artner Corp. of Boisie, Ind., which can shoot a rubber band up to 25 feet.
Attack Force, Strombecker Corp.'s motorized cap machine pistol, carries warnings that it should not be fired closer than one foot to the ear, should not be used without adult supervision and that its roll caps may be hazardous if misused. Swartz said a toy with those warnings shouldn't be sold.
Strombecker President Dan Shure said the product isn't dangerous if used correctly.
Guarantee Distributors officials did not return a telephone call and an attempt to reach Artner for a response was unsuccessful because its number has been disconnected.
Swartz said four toys made the list because of small parts that could choke a child:
- "My Train," a wooden train set, by Montgomery Schoolhouse of Vermont.
- A Burger King Cheeseburger Set, by Multi Toys Corp.
- Paddington's 30th Anniversary Bear, by Eden Toys Inc.
- My Ladybird First Pull Along Puzzle, by Berchet.
Daniel Woodward, one of Montgomery's owners, said the train set meets all federal safety standards.
Leonard Gilman, vice president of sales for Multi Toys, said the cheeseburger set was tested by Lab Test Hong Kong Ltd. to meet U.S. safety standards.
Eden Toys Chairman David Miller said the bear is safe and has passed all standards.
Berchet did not return phone calls.