Things were so much simpler when we could die at any moment, right?
OK, hear me out. Our childhoods were filled with dangerous toys and playthings, regardless of what era we grew up in, and with each passing year, it seems that toy companies and local officials are banning something, recalling something, or adding yet another safety regulation to things we always assumed were perfectly safe!
While this is often for the best (we don’t want kids to end up in the hospital!), some studies suggest that if things are too safe, it can actually be detrimental for children and their development, as they need a certain amount of “risk play” to learn how to navigate life’s challenges and build their confidence.
These banned toys and playthings, in particular, may surprise you and bring back memories of when everything felt a little more… dangerous.
Yes, believe it or not, the U-238 Atomic Energy Lab was released in 1951 by Albert Gilbert (inventor of the Erector set) and included real radioactive materials. It was thankfully pulled from the shelves after less than a year.
If you’ve visited a playground you used to frequent as a child, you’ve probably noticed that all of those super fun metal designs have been replaced with safer rubber ones. And if you’re like me, you’ve cried out, “WHY?” in despair for the loss of these wonderful contraptions that burned searing hot in the summer sun, or for the jungle gyms that would most certainly lead to sudden death after a bad fall.
This creepy doll programmed with “real chewing action” apparently had some cannibalistic tendencies… as kids often got their fingers and even their hair caught in her mouth. As a result, Mattel banned them in 1997.
JARTS, or lawn darts, were heavy, solid pieces of metal that could easily impale someone. Responsible for a whopping 7,000 injuries at at least one death, these lethal toys were banned on December 19, 1988, by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
While these are still legally sold at a variety of novelty shops across the country, they’ve raised plenty of concern over encouraging children to take up smoking, and were even banned in North Dakota from 1953 to 1967. Canadian law still prohibits any candy cigarette branding that resembles cigarette company branding.
Also known as Knockers and Click Clacks, these heavy acrylic balls attached to weighty string had only one purpose: to be knocked together as fast and hard as possible. This resulted in shattered toys and shrapnel flying everywhere. Clackers were officially banned in 1985.
Made from flammable diesel hydrocarbons, this stretchy toy could cause strangulation if wrapped around a child’s neck, and was banned in Illinois, New Jersey, and New York.
As of December 13, 2007, the CPSC had received 409 reported injuries, 294 of which were classified as suffocation/strangulation. Yikes!
Generational differences and societal standards aside, it’s fascinating to see where the lines are drawn between a toy being “challenging” to actually “hazardous.” How many of these toys do you remember wanting — or even owning?
Due to restrictions, this video cannot be viewed in your region.