Take a nostalgic trip back to the ’90s with Skip-It, the highly addictive toy that had us jumping and hopping in our back gardens and school yards. Originally released in the 80s and revamped for the 90s, Skip-It became a sensation, coaxing kids off the couch and into energetic play. However, its daring design eventually led to its prohibition due to safety concerns.
Dive sticks, initially conceived as a fun and engaging pool toy in the ’90s, quickly turned into one of the most perilous playthings. The idea was simple: toss them into the pool, let them sink, and have kids retrieve them from the bottom. However, the materials used and their tendency to remain upright underwater posed significant dangers, resulting in severe injuries and prompting a need for safer alternatives.
Splash Off Water Rockets
The Splash Off Water Rocket, while aiming to teach the wonders of science, ended up being a cautionary tale of poor quality and pressure. This toy involved filling a rocket with water, pressurising it with a garden hose, and launching it into the sky. However, due to subpar materials and manufacturing, the rockets would often burst, causing severe injuries and leading to their recall in 1997.
The 90s Beanie Babies craze ignited an underground black market, divorces over toy assets, and criminal activities. Ty Warner, the elusive billionaire founder, aggressively pursued knock-offs and even faced legal troubles, including concealing millions from the IRS. The innocent-looking plush toys had a surprisingly dark and complex legacy.
The Super Soaker, a powerful water sprayer that dominated ’90s pool parties, faced controversy due to misuse and tragic incidents. In 1992, a fatal incident occurred during a water fight, and there were reports of Super Soakers being filled with harmful substances. To address concerns, the company distanced itself from gun-related violence, but the toy’s popularity endured in an era when such incidents were less prevalent.
Slap bracelets, the bendy and fashionable wrist adornments of the early ’90s, gained notoriety due to Chinese knock-offs that led to scandalous incidents. Cheap imitations with sharp metal edges caused injuries to children, prompting schools to ban them.
The Furby, a popular robotic toy from the late ’90s, faced a backlash when rumours emerged about its potential for espionage. Allegations of the Furby recording conversations led government agencies, including the NSA, FAA, and Naval Shipyard to impose bans on the toy. The controversy surrounding the beloved creature became a prominent part of its legacy.
Introduced in 1994, Sky Dancers offered a unique and exhilarating play experience. Safety concerns plagued these spinning and flying dolls, leading to their recall by Galoob. Reports of injuries, including eye injuries and facial lacerations, prompted the removal of Sky Dancers from the market by 2000.
Kinder Eggs, the combination of a hidden toy within a chocolate shell, have courted controversy for their potential hazards. Placing small toys inside edible treats poses a clear choking risk, leading to their illegal status. Despite a 1997 recall issued by the CPSC, these chocolate-enshrined gimmick toys persisted, defying safety regulations and tempting enthusiasts with their forbidden allure.
The Pogo Ball, a bouncy rubber ball with a plastic platform for bouncing, reached peak fad status in the ’80s and ’90s. However, its simple concept masked a multitude of issues. The flawed design and safety concerns surrounding the Pogo Ball led to questioning the judgement of parents who purchased this potentially hazardous toy, raising doubts about its suitability for safe play.