You’d probably be surprised to learn the number of toys throughout time that have left physical and emotional scars on kids everywhere. In fact, these toys probably should’ve never been made at all. Some children’s toys go down in the books as the must-have items of their time, while others end up doomed to spend the rest of their time un-bought on store shelves. We can all picture some of the winners—Tickle Me Elmo, the Furby, Barbies—but what about those that weren’t so successful? Here are some of history’s worst toys that really shouldn’t have ever seen the light of day.
There are a lot of little girls who mimic their own mothers when it comes to taking care of their baby dolls, but this particular doll took it a little too far. It was called the Bebe Gloton: a doll that was designed to act like it was breastfeeding. The doll not only made the sounds of a breastfeeding baby, but also—get ready for this—came with nipple vest the child could strap on. Many parents would agree that there’s a time and place to teach their kids about breastfeeding, but it doesn’t seem like this doll should have a part in it. The toy was met with a lot of backlash and is now sold only in Spain.
Slumber Party Barbie
What could go wrong with a Barbie doll that’s just dressed up like she’s having an innocent slumber party with friends? For this doll, the danger is in the accessories. This doll in particular, which was released in 1965, came with a small book with the title “How to Lose Weight.” On the back? The words “Don’t Eat!” As if that wasn’t bad enough, the doll also came with a toy scale that was set to 110 pounds which, with Barbie’s height of 5’9”, would have made her underweight by 20 pounds.
Adults know that darts can be incredibly dangerous when used carelessly, so we’d love to hear who thought giant, sharp darts made for kids to throw around were a good idea. The toy was so dangerous that in 1988, it was actually discontinued after it was discovered that they were responsible for thousands of various injuries and even four deaths.
This toy was released in 2007 but only stayed on store shelves for a short six months. Why? Though fun to look at, the toy consisted of small beads that stuck together when mixed with water, and the beads themselves were pretty tempting for kids to put in their mouths. Not only that, but there was a chemical coating on the beads that actually ended up putting two children into comas temporarily. The ingested beads also led to many instances of vomiting, breathing issues, and even seizures.
Hopefully after this, manufacturers will fully realize how bad of an idea small, bead-like toys are. Buckyballs were technically created as an “adult desk toy,” but any parent will know that putting something on a desk won’t stop their kids from trying to get their hands on it. Like the Aqua Dots, kids have been known to eat Buckyballs, and those who have suffered some serious injuries because of it. Because the balls are magnetic, they cling to one another even in the body, and we can all imagine how painful that would be.
“Crazy For You” Teddy
Alright, the joke here is obvious, but it’s not one that we would consider to be entirely funny. This teddy bear was released in 2005 around Valentine’s Day as a unique way to show your partner just how crazy you are about them. The bear was actually a hit at first, until it was suggested that the product was pretty insensitive to those with mental health issues. After the issue was brought up, the company stopped production of the toy shortly after.
Preemie Cabbage Patch Dolls
It’s not uncommon for babies to be born prematurely, and we’re guessing that’s why the makers of Cabbage Patch Dolls came up with a preemie version. When you think about it, though, it’s kind of pointless and more than a little wrong. First of all, delivering a premature baby is something that can be very scary and uncertain. Second, the children playing with a doll like this probably don’t know what a preemie is and wouldn’t really notice the difference between it and another doll—after all, dolls already come in all different sizes.
Fisher-Price Porsche Power Wheels
This type of toy is definitely still around today, and they were all the rage when they first came out—you’re lying to yourself if you say you didn’t want one for yourself as a kid. The toy itself wasn’t inherently dangerous, as they came with safety belts and could only go so fast. However, the Porsche model was voluntarily recalled in 1991 because of a battery issue that made the cars unable to stop. Not the best issue to have for anything, let alone a toy that children ride around in. They fixed the issue, thankfully, and the new version is available at stores everywhere. But the question remains: who thought giving toddlers their own pint-sized rides would end well? Needless to say, there have been more than a few fender-benders since power wheels hit the toy stores.
Fisher-Price Power Wheels Harley Davidson
If there’s anything worse than giving a child their own tiny car, it’s giving them their own tiny motorcycle. Much like the original Power Wheels toy, the Harley Davidson version was pretty popular when it was first released. It didn’t take too long for the issues to roll in, though. The foot pedal that made the toy go started to get stuck while it was on, leading to a number of accidents because the kids riding the toy weren’t able to stop it. Fisher-Price recalled the affected models and sent kits to replace the foot pedals.
The hoverboard is a fairly new invention, although people have been dreaming about its creation for decades. If you’ve ever ridden one, though, you’ll probably wish the idea of it had died in the past. Hoverboards are not only super difficult to get the hang of, but it’s incredibly easy to either run over the foot of someone close by or fall off while you’re riding it. Not only that, but there were also widespread issues with overheating batteries that led to approximately 100 burn-related incidents.
Most playgrounds these days are made of plastic but, back in the day, metal was the material of choice. Sure, you can fall off of a metal playground just the same as you could one made of plastic, but metal playgrounds had one distinct drawback—the fact that they felt like molten lava on a hot day.
Slap bracelets were probably created with innocent intentions in mind—just as a bracelet that you can put on in a second with only a quick, gentle slap to your wrist.
The creators didn’t take into account the fact that kids are jerks, and would most definitely use the bracelets to torment all of their friends with unexpected, not-so-gentle smacks. When they were first released, the bracelets were actually banned from many different schools because of injuries caused by irresponsible kids.
We definitely get that slingshots were created for a very practical purpose, but we’re not so sure why someone decided it’d be a good idea to give them to children. As most of us know, kids love to push boundaries, and giving them something that’ll let them catapult objects at unsuspecting people is a recipe for pain and disaster.
Ker-bangers, which were also called Clackers and Knockers, because super popular sometime during the ‘60s, and they remained popular well into the ‘80s. The toy was simple—just a thick string with a heavy acrylic ball attached the each end that you swung around to make a clacking noise. The toys began to lose popularity in the mid ‘80s because it wasn’t uncommon for the balls to break after being smashed together over and over again, sending small pieces of the material flying everywhere. If you were unlucky enough, you may have even gotten a hand or finger smashed between the balls, too.
The Inflatable Baby Boat
A pool toy that allows young children to sit in the water safely is something all parents can appreciate—well, as long as it works. The company Aqua-Leisure released a number of inflatable pool toys for babies and they were well-received at first. Eventually, though, it was found out that the material used for the seat portion of the boats was prone to tearing, making it terrifyingly easy for a baby to slip right through into the water. Thankfully the boats were recalled in 2009, although it was determined that the company knew about the defect for years.