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Many toys have hidden hazards. Here are 10 of this year's worst

Did you know that every three minutes a child in the U.S. is treated in an emergency room for a toy-related injury?

Far too many toys are dangerous or defective. They may be designed poorly, fail to address obvious hazards or have inadequate safety warnings. Every year, the consumer advocacy group WATCH (World Against Toys Causing Harm) releases a list of the 10 most dangerous toys on store shelves. Let's look at that list, as it can help you learn to spot the hidden hazards in the toys you buy:

Hasbro's Nerf Ultra One motorized blaster fires darts up to 120 feet. Although the darts are soft, they can be fired hard enough to cause eye injuries. Moreover, the companion Nerf Battle Goggles give the false impression they provide eye protection. They do not.

Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog is covered with 12 removable plastic quills that are 3-1/2 inches long. These could be swallowed by the 18-month-old kids the toy is marketed for and could block the child's airway.

Bunchems Bunch'N Build from Spin Master, Ltd., is advertised for children age 4 and up. The "bunchems" are plastic connective toys meant for building, but there have been reports of the toys becoming ensnared in children's hair. It does come with a warning, but that may not be effective for the target age group.

Douglas Company Inc's Yeti toy is sold for kids 24 months and older, but its long fiber hair can be pulled out with minimal effort. If it is, it presents an ingestion and aspiration hazard, yet no warning is given.

A child might easily assume that Nickelodeon Frozen Treats Slime is edible, considering it comes in "flavors" like "berry smoothie" and "soft serve." The manufacturer urges kids not to eat it, advising that it contains "harmful chemicals."

Considering there have been multiple instances of children being shot by police for playing with too-realistic-looking toy weapons, you might think companies would re-think such toy weapons. Anstoy's electronic toy gun looks very much like a submachine gun.

Schylling sells a diecast school bus for ages 3+. It's crucial to keep this toy away from young children, however, because it has firm rubber tires on plastic wheels which can be removed. They are small enough to pose a serious choking hazard.

Flybar, Inc.'s pogo trick board could cause head and impact injuries, which the manufacturer acknowledges by warning kids always to wear a helmet and other protective equipment when playing with the toy. Nevertheless, one of the kids on the packaging is not wearing a helmet, and none of the kids are wearing any other protective equipment.

What could go wrong with offering a 5-year-old a rigid plastic battle claw? Hasbro, the manufacturer of the Power Rangers Electronic Cheetah Claw encourages kids to "take on...enemies," although it does warn them not to hit or swing it at people or animals.

It's industry standard to keep strings on crib toys shorter than 12" to prevent strangulation and entanglement. VIGA's pull-along caterpillar, however, is exempt because it's a "pull toy." Even though it's marketed to kids as young as 18 months, it has a cord approximately 24" long.

Take these dangerous toys off your list and watch for similar hazards in the toys you do buy. If your child is injured by a toy, you may have legal rights. Discuss your situation with a product liability attorney.

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