'Warcraft' hammer, slingshot on annual most dangerous toys list
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By Scott Malone
BOSTON (Reuters) - A sling-shot, inflatable suits that kids can don and wear while crashing into each other and a hammer inspired by weapons in the movie "Warcraft" ranked among the 10 most hazardous toys on an annual list released on Tuesday by U.S. child safety advocates.
The group World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc released its "10 Worst Toys of 2016" at the start of the U.S. holiday shopping season, saying it intends to call attention to playthings that may be more dangerous than parents realize.
In addition to toy weapons and other playthings that could encourage children to launch projectiles at or crash into one another, the list includes a large stuffed elephant that the group warns could inadvertently suffocate an infant if left in a crib and a toy puppy with a 31-inch (79 cm) leash that could pose a strangulation hazard.
"Although parents have a right to expect that toys they give to their children are safe, unsafe toys remain an ongoing problem," the group said in a statement.
"Due to poor design, manufacturing and marketing practices, there are toys available for purchase today with the potential to lead to serious injury and even death," the statement added.
The group called out the "Banzai Bump N'Bounce Body Bumpers," for warning on the packaging that users of its inflatable suits should don protective equipment such as helmets before running into one another. But it comes in a box that shows children wearing the suits without protective gear.
It also said the "Warcraft Doomhammer" comes with no warnings "regarding potential impact injuries associated with foreseeable use of the heavy, rigid plastic battle hammer."
The makers of those products did not respond to requests for comment. But the Toy Industry Association released a statement dismissing the group's concerns.
"Year after year these lists have repeatedly shown to be full of false claims that needlessly frighten parents and caregivers," the group said.
Other critics of the list, prepared by a child-safety advocate and a trial attorney, dismiss it as describing dangers that are either overblown or obvious.
"There's nothing that has zero risk," said Lenore Skenazy, founder of the free-range kids movement and a contributor to the online commentary site Reason.com. "If you are a plaintiffs' attorney you want to make it seem like anything that ever happens to a child is someone else's fault. If there are no accidents, the world is your courtroom."
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Alan Crosby and Dan Grebler)
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