The 90s were a fun time to grow up, as there was so much to entertain us, from great movies, iconic shows, a variety of snacks, the leap from video games to 3D, and so on.
Of course, toys were a big part of it too, with Furby’s, Power Rangers figures, Tamagotchi mascots, and Hot Wheels being some of the top representatives of the era.
While the introduction of endless new toys was a lot of fun, they brought with them certain risks, such as severe blows to the head and eyes, crashing falls, high-powered water shots, and a host of other hazards that children of the time endured.
The warning labels were there, but their creativity had no limits.
In addition, some 90s toys were dangerous or inappropriate straight out of the box. Injuries, accidents, recalls, and more. The potential for harm was endless. Let’s remember the
12 Toys That Were Banned Or Not Appropriate For Kids In the 90s
Ahh, how could we forget a time when kids were test subjects…
Creepy Crawlers (1992)
Although the original ThingMaker toy arrived in the mid-1960s, it was in the 1990s that the line was revived by ToyMax, with an animated series included.
The appeal of this toy lay in its small oven that could bake dozens of molds to give birth to plasticine Creepy Crawlers. By this point, you probably already see what the problem was, and that is that the oven reached too high temperatures of up to 170 degrees.
That caused multiple burns in children, and if that wasn’t enough, the material used were full of chemicals that created a toxic environment when in contact with heat.
The product was withdrawn from stores, although today we can enjoy it thanks to the redesign of Jakks Pacific, which has made it a safer toy that has even had collaborations with major licenses such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Star Wars, and Pokemon.
Not bad for the oven that almost ruined the lives of hundreds of children.
Sky Dancers (1994)
There is nothing that little girls love more than fairies, those fantasy characters that have filled so many animated series and movies with joy. They are so popular and ingrained in popular culture that there are hundreds of toys based on them, although not all of them are so magical…
The Sky Dancers were a line of toys launched by Galoob for Christmas 1994. Not only did the dolls have beautiful designs, but they could fly with their wings.
The concept was perfect, but before long, the Sky Dancers received over 170 complaints, forcing Galoob to recall more than 8.9 million of the fairies.
Injuries caused by the flying pixies ranged from hurt eyes, temporary blindness, broken teeth, cuts that needed stitches, and broken ribs. Yes, I am not exaggerating.
Despite spreading panic during that time, the Sky Dancers inspired other companies to make the same toys, but with softer materials. At least they left something good behind…
Roller Blade Barbie (1992)
This Barbie was definitely unlike any other you’ve ever seen. The figure included roller blades that would send sparks flying when friction was exerted on a surface. So far, the idea was extremely attractive and popular, until accidents started to happen.
The skates were essentially functional flint firestarters in a toy, causing burns and even some fires.
In this case, Mattel did not wait for the situation to get worse, and withdrew all those dolls early from the market before it was too late… or rather, something went boom.
Snacktime Cabbage Patch Kids Dolls (1996)
Companies have always looked for ways to produce increasingly realistic baby dolls because little girls love the experience of caring for a smaller version of themselves.
But when realism goes too far, we have cases like the Snacktime Cabbage Patch Kids Dolls, which at first glance are cute, but with this particular line, their jaws look like something out of a horror movie.
These dolls had a mechanical mouth that could eat some plastic snacks included in their packaging but needed to know when to stop and much less differentiate whether what they were chewing was plastic or meat.
As well as eating fake bananas and potato chips, they also viciously chewed the fingers and hair of many children. Not even Chucky dared to do so much.
After receiving more than 100 complaints from angry parents, Mattel had to recall the dolls but waited until the holiday season was over. What’s a few extra bites when you’re making big money?
The dolls are still in circulation today, although they dropped their cannibalistic ways and stuck with the static approach, but their days of popularity are behind them.
Kaba Kick (1992)
Company: Takara Tomy
We jump to the Orient to meet a toy that caused some controversy at the time in Japan, where they thought that children wanted to shoot themselves…
Or at least that’s what Takara Tomy’s managers thought, launching the Kaba Kick, a gun that adapts the macabre game of Russian roulette for a child clientele.
The idea was for kids to point the gun at their heads, and pull the trigger. Instead of bullets, they were hit by a pair of plastic feet sticking out of the barrel. If the kid was lucky and didn’t get shot, they earned points.
As aggressive as it sounds, the Kaba Kick was not painful, but wow, its mere inspiration is a little too creepy even by today’s standards.
It’s easy to see why parents were hesitant to buy the Kaba for their children and the toy was eventually banned, though surely a few parents bought it thinking it was a hair dryer for girls.
Crocodile Dentist (1990)
Company: Milton Bradley
In this case, we have a toy whose conception was totally harmless, but current trends have turned it into a killing machine.
The was a fun game where the object was to remove the crocodile’s teeth without the plastic animal biting your hand when it closed its jaws.
It was the closest thing to removing a real crocodile’s tooth decay without losing your limbs or even your life in the process.
Although there are certain people, usually bored teenagers with too much time on their hands, that decide to make the toy as realistic as possible, adding nails and other sharp objects to make the challenge real.
Needless to say, accidents have happened because of this.
Shape Shifters Punisher (1998)
Company: Toy Biz
Before becoming a subsidiary of Marvel, Toy Biz was dedicated to creating action figures not only from the House of Ideas but also from DC Comics and popular wrestlers, although as we can see in this case, sometimes their creativity got too far out of hand.
In the late ’90s, they launched a line of Marvel toys titled “Shape Shifters”, as the figures could transform into weapons.
While the concept sounds interesting enough, the transformations were mostly bizarre, but without a doubt, the one that takes the prize in that category is the Punisher figure.
We all know Frank Castle and his fondness for guns, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a gun right… there, but come on, we’re talking about toys for kids, it’s too obvious that something is wrong.
Maybe that gun between his pants is just a part of his transformation, but it’s still there, but to tell the truth, his initial phase as an action figure is pretty cool. Big musculature, an intimidating skull logo, and a tremendous Power Pistol! Okay, enough said.
Slip ‘N’ Slide (1961)
Ah, how could we forget those summer afternoons perfect for sliding around on soap-like penguins?
Admittedly, you don’t have to own a Slip ‘N’ Slide to enjoy this game, but it was Wham-O that marketed it on a large scale as a toy.
Certainly, having a Slip ‘N’ Slide was a guarantee of fun. You just needed water and a long backyard with a hill to enjoy it, although you don’t have to be a genius to see the danger.
Now I regret mentioning the soap thing because while it increased the speed of the slide, it also increased the risk of an accident. Irresponsibility was also a major factor, as many adults came to use it, mostly in a drunken state.
This led to spinal injuries, concussions, ankle fractures, deviations from the path, tripping over other participants, and countless other inconveniences that caught the attention of the CPSC, but Wham-O did not withdraw their product from the market.
All because adults didn’t read that the toy was only for kids… or just didn’t care. If I’m being honest, I’d still have fun on a Slip ‘N’ Slide.
Jar-Jar Binks Lollipop (1999)
This isn’t exactly a toy but wow it’s disturbing, enough to make it onto this list.
With the Phantom Menace, Star Wars returned to theaters, beginning the trilogy of prequels that generated some debate at the time, but today are super beloved and iconic.
As was obvious, the merchandising of the first film was not long in coming, launching all kinds of products such as the Yoda Magic 8 Ball and the C-3PO Tape Dispenser, which not only promoted the film but were things that every Star Wars fan would want to have on their shelf, especially children who were new to the saga.
Well, I doubt they would have wanted Jar-Jar Binks’ lollipop, whose tongue was made of candy and… I think that visual is enough.
If Jar-Jar Binks was already a hated character, this lollipop didn’t help him. Just imagine licking this in public, it’s just so uncomfortable, especially for a child. Even Mark Hamill himself has made fun of this product on his social media.
Many believe that the worst thing about Star Wars are its sequels made by Disney, but this lollipop was a real crime, at least it has earned a fan base of fans who seek it for their collection.
Yo-Yo Water Balls
Fluffy, flexible, and full of water. Everything seems to work in this alternative yo-yo that distracted children on walks or other activities. Except it could cause injuries to their eyes, and even cause them to faint.
That’s right, these harmless water balls were a real danger all around, especially for creative children.
Some would use the toy backwards, instead of grabbing it by the plastic anchored part, they would grab the water ball directly, stretching it so far that the other piece would end up hitting the kids in the face.
But the ones who really had a hard time were the ones who twisted the rope so much that it ended up around their necks, causing serious injuries, and even fainting from the choke.
Anyway, I prefer the classic yo-yo, which although it is hard and rigid, is very reliable, unless you use it on purpose to cause evil. That’s up to you.
In the 90s you didn’t only get hurt with the toys at home but also with the ones in your school, which in theory should be the safest place for children.
The gym Scooters were quite simple but functional, they were just platforms supported by 4 wheels on which you sat and gave free rein to your inner Toretto, of course, you had to hold on to the little handles, or else your fingers would have a very unpleasant ride.
Children who used this had better be sure to do so, as their lack of brakes made it impossible to stop. Once you picked up speed, you could only be stopped by inertia, a jump, a wall, another child… In short, most methods were painful.
However, the gym Scooters were epoch-making at the time, as it was undeniable that children had a good time using them. It was one of their first contacts with adrenaline.
Socker Boppers (1998)
Company: Big Time Toys
Fighting has always been a favorite hobby for kids. Whether it’s against your brother because he ate your candy, or with your cousins because you didn’t see them much, and what better way to spend time with them than to beat them up?
Whatever the case, kids always fight, but always for fun and sport, so Big Time Toys saw the perfect opportunity to turn them into the next boxing champions.
The Socker Boppers already existed since the ’70s but were revived in the late 90’s to delight a whole generation of little warriors.
Actually, the gloves, despite being gigantic, were quite padded and as long as they were kept inflated, their wearers could not hurt themselves too badly unless they had enormous strength, something a child does not have.
The problem came when the gloves deflated, so they stopped cushioning impacts as much. As a result, many teeth were smashed, some brains were shaken, and not to mention noses.
This is what happens when you capitalize on violence, but there goes Big Time Toys, which continued the line with swords, shields, and other weapons. You know, if you’re going to do damage, do it right.
The 90s were a time of experimentation for many toy companies that wanted to see children suffer, or worse, their parents.
If there wasn’t a toy that caused a cut, burn, injury, or broken tooth in between, they would surely come across another rather inappropriate one that calls into question the intent of the manufacturers.
Regardless, it was an amazing decade that many adults miss, and more than one would go through an injury again just to have fun with their childhood friends.