A virtual meeting

Toying with death

So, you had a good holiday? Kids are playing with those toys in the basement? Lots of gigglin’ and happiness?

Then, hey! Why not check the brand-new Toy Recall Database by … and find out whether you’ve accidentally given your kids THE GIFT OF DEATH. It’s a quite amazing resource. Search by toy name, manufacturer, or, most grimly, “problem with toy”, and see what sort of ludo-industrial heinousness comes up. Or just surf through the list of “Popular Toy Recall Searches”; [shuddering].

Here’s one of my favorites:

WHICH TOYS: Galoob® Toys Inc., of San Francisco, CA, recalled about 8.9 million Sky Dancers® flying dolls. Galoob® was purchased by Hasbro in 1998. The recalled Sky Dancers® dolls were sold in many different styles, including Pretty Lights Sky Dancers, Mini-Sky Dancers and Fairy Flyers. The princess/ballerina-type dolls have hair pulled up into a pony tail and have stiff foam wing-covered arms that propel the doll when it is launched. The launchers, sold in many shapes including dolphins, flowers, moon, ponies, and sun and rainbow, have a molded plastic base and a pull-cord. The launchers were sold in both hand-held and table-top versions. The doll is inserted into the top of the launcher feet-first, and the pull-cord is pulled to launch the doll. The packaging is labeled “Sky Dancers®”, “galoob®”, “MADE IN CHINA”, “Ages 5 and Up Only” and “Not for children under 3 years”. Mass merchandise and toy stores nationwide sold the dolls from November 1994 through June 2000 for between $8 to $25.

PROBLEM WITH TOY: The hard plastic Sky Dancers® dolls can fly rapidly in unpredictable directions, and can hit and injure both children and adults. Galoob® has received 170 reports of the dolls striking children and adults resulting in 150 reports of injuries. They include eye injuries, including scratched corneas and incidents of temporary blindness, broken teeth, a mild concussion, a broken rib, and facial lacerations that required stitches.

The Sky Dancer is pictured above (taken from the Galoob site). While you’re at the database, why not check out the recall for the Barbie Sunglasses?

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson