The 1980s brought us such cultural tragedies as big hair, glam metal, and an entire decade of neo-conservative government rule. It also provided kids with some life-threatening toys (surprisingly, they weren’t GI Joe action figures). All things considered though, the 80s were relatively quiet in terms of dangerous toys (the days of having fun with radiation were thankfully long past). Still, the decade had its fair share of clunkers, with the following 6 representing the most head-scratching instances of child endangerment toy manufacturers could produce.
6. The Pogo-Ball
Anyone who’s ever tried to balance themselves on a ball probably found out pretty quickly that doing so was a good way to get your face acquainted with the pavement. Hasbro, taking this concept to heart, decided to take an already dangerous toy concept— the pogo stick — and attach a ball to the bottom while getting rid of the handlebars. Now, the Pogo-Ball wasn’t inherently dangerous, but the overall lack of control afforded to the user led to some pretty significant injuries and broken items when used indoors.
5. Metal Playgrounds
You may not have consciously noticed it, but metal playgrounds are largely a thing of the past now. Back in their 80s heyday though, playgrounds with metal slides, jungle gyms, and teeter-totters were everywhere. There was nothing quite like riding down a big metal slide, with its surface heated to inferno-like levels by the afternoon sun, and jagged edges offering fresh cuts as you whizzed by. To be fair, the phasing out of metal playgrounds was probably a smart choice given their unnecessarily dangerous components, but most 80s (and 90s) kids surely look back at these old metallic deathtraps with nostalgic fondness.
4. Slap Bracelets
These fad accessories, better known as “Slap Wraps”, were popular in the late 80s and early 90s with children of all different age groups. They were a popular fashion accessory due to their wide variety of styles and the trademark way they could be slapped onto your wrist. Since they were made of metal however, prolonged wear and tear led the metal to come through the outer casing and many schools banned the bracelets after finding children were being hurt by this defect. They made a comeback in 2011, but hilariously came under fire again, this time for the discovery of nude pictures printed on the metal of some of the bracelets (a result of cheaper Chinese versions).
3. Wham-O Slip N’ Slide
These popular water-themed devices were made to look like a blast in commercials, but the reality was much more painful. The Slip N’ Slide required users to hurl themselves onto their fronts, usually on very hard ground, and it was discovered that this was extremely dangerous for teens and adults, as spinal injuries could occur (among a host of other problems that could arise from throwing yourself to the Due to multiple reports of injuries during the 1970s and 80s, the Consumer Product Safety Commission put out a recommendation that only children should use the products. Kids really do get to have all the fun.
2. Hang 10 Mini Hammocks
*Actual Hang 10 Mini Hammock Not Pictured.
Setting up a hammock in the backyard is one of those suburban relaxation fantasies that never seems to go out of style. By that token, it would seem like a logical bet that kids might want to hang in their own little hammocks alongside their parents. EZ Sales had this idea, but unwittingly released a “death cocoon” upon an unsuspecting public. At least 12 children died of asphyxiation before the products were eventually recalled in 1996. Bet they regret calling them the “Hang 10” now.
No right-minded parent would let their kids play with darts unsupervised. However, if the darts are marketed towards children, it must mean they’re safe to use, right? Lawn darts, or “Jarts”, were popular in the 70s and 80s, but due to the fact that they were practically weapons, over 6,1000 people were reportedly injured over an 8 year period, with at least 4 reported deaths. Jarts were eventually forbidden from being marketed to children, but after an 11 year old girl in Tennessee was sent into a coma after being hit by one, they were outright banned in 1988. Jarts are still sold in Canada, but they now have plastic tips instead of metal ones.