10 Classic Toys That Could Kill You


Toy Guns

A police officer shows a toy gun next to a student during the Weapon is not a Toy campaign at Joao Deus Cardoso school in Sao Paulo, Brazil. © NACHO DOCE/Reuters/Corbis
A police officer shows a toy gun next to a student during the Weapon is not a Toy campaign at Joao Deus Cardoso school in Sao Paulo, Brazil. © NACHO DOCE/Reuters/Corbis

In November 2014, a rookie police officer in Cleveland, Ohio, shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice while he was playing with a BB gun. The policeman reported that he thought it was the real thing and feared for his life. However, the case remains open with accompanying allegations of racial profiling [source: Izadi and Holley].

Whether BB guns, airsoft, paint guns or simple toys, imitation firearms can turn play into a police matter. U.S. federal law since 1989 has required most toy guns to be outfitted with a bright orange tip on the muzzle or to have a brightly colored body. The boy's gun, which resembled a semiautomatic handgun, did not have these distinctive markings.

This killing was not an isolated incident. In 2007, San Diego police shot a teenaged boy with an imitation revolver in his car. In early 2013, police in Brownsville, Texas, killed a 15-year-old boy brandishing a black BB gun that resembled a Glock firearm [source: Ferriss]. Later that year, a sheriff's deputy in Santa Rosa, Calif., shot and killed a 13-year-old boy walking down the street carrying a replica of an AK-47 [source: Alexander]. Incidences like these make fake guns the most deadly toy of all.

Author's Note: 10 Classic Toys That Could Kill You

Researching this article was educational and a little humbling. I feel like I stay on top of safety at my house. There are regular smoke detector checks. I have a carbon monoxide detector. We discard broken or damaged toys, and try to stick with the classics instead of the flavor-of-the-month. Even so, we either have -- or have had -- seven of the 10 toys on this list. And survived!

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Barbie Turns 60, Becomes an Astrophysicist

Barbie Turns 60, Becomes an Astrophysicist

Barbie, the ultimate classic doll, turns 60 this year. HowStuffWorks goes to the party.