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Dangerous toys ID'd
Consumer safety group picks its 10 worst of 2004, toy industry shrugs off list.
December 22, 2004: 8:42 AM EST

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Just in time for the holidays, a consumer group announced its pick for the 10 worst toys of 2004 Wednesday, including the Pocket Rocket Miniature Motorcycle and the Megabuster Battle Weapon.

The toy industry responded by saying that products on such lists almost always end up meeting U.S. safety standards, and companies reiterated that their toys passed numerous safety tests.

The list also included Imaginarium Police Car Building Blocks, Dress Me Paz, Fun Slides Carpet Skates, Air Burst Rockets, the 38" Playtime Trampoline, Happy Birthday Bear, Parents Magazine Mirror Pound-A-Ball and the 3 Gun Squad Set -- Uz-1 Commando Machine Gun.

The list, compiled by World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH), includes toys the group says are so poorly designed or tested that they pose a serious safety or health risk to children.

The group said buyers should be especially cautious about buying toys from the Internet.

"In 2004, 41 percent of consumers plan to buy holiday gifts on line," said WATCH. "While such purchase methods make toy shopping convenient and more efficient, toy shoppers are often provided with less product information prior to purchase."

According to WATCH, the upcoming holiday season accounts for 65 percent of all toy sales.

Toy makers serious about safety

The Toy Industry Association, a group that represents toy manufacturers, said in the past the government has reviewed toys on these sorts of consumer group lists only to discover that nearly all have meet U.S. product safety standards.

The toy industry shot back saying that the top 10 list created unnecessary amounts of panic among consumers.

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"Toys produced and sold in the U.S. are the most highly regulated and monitored in the world and U.S. toy safety standards serve as a model around the globe," said TIA in a statement. "Toys are consistently ranked by the (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) as one of the safest of 15 products commonly found in the home.

"We take safety very seriously, and Fun Slides have been judged to be a safe toy," said Candace Holsing, director of marketing and sales at Simtec Co., the maker of Fun Slides Carpet Skates.

Holsing added that the National Parenting Center awarded Fun Slides the National Parenting Center seal of approval, one of many awards the product has received.

Razor USA, the maker of Rocket Miniature Motorcycle, said "parents should always exercise judgment in determining the rider's individual maturity, skill and ability to follow rules."

"We believe that the low speed Razor Pocket Rocket motorcycle may be enjoyed by responsible riders, 12 years and older, in controlled environments," Katherine Mahoney, spokeswoman for Razor, told CNN/Money.

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TIA added that consumers are responsible for choosing age-appropriate toys, following product directions and supervising children while they play -- actions that will ensure toy safety.

For more than 30 years, WATCH has identified hazards in toys and claims responsibility for the recall or redesign of hundreds of toys the group has deemed dangerous.  Top of page

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