Some may groan when people say that ‘90s kids are built different, but when you look at the so-called "toys" we were playing with, you had to be built different to survive. One false move with one of these and your ass was grass.
We’re looking at the most outrageously dangerous 1990s toys designed and aimed directly at kids that, intentionally or not, had a good chance of landing you in the hospital. Despite the dangers (or maybe because of it) we all secretly wanted all these anyway.
You won’t find any of these on the shelves today.
Go ahead, kid, strap these bulky plastic platforms on your feet with some rubber bands on them! What could go wrong? I’ll be real with you, I wanted a pair of these things BAD. In my mind, I would be bouncing around the neighborhood like Mario.
What’s extra crazy about these broken arms and twisted ankles in waiting is that they’re actually considered the safer version! The original design from the '50s was made of metal.
If you wanted to sell a toy in the ‘90s, all you had to do was find a way to include the word “dragon” in it and add a Z. Oh, and making it a tie-in with a cheap cartoon certainly helps too. Kids could wind these bad boys up until they spun fast enough to launch up into the air. Cool, right?
As it turns out, it wasn’t cool. Even though they had foam wings, 150 injuries were reportedly caused by the toys, including temporary blindness, a concussion, broken ribs, and facial lacerations leading to a total recall in 2000.
Seriously, though, how the hell do you break a rib with one of those?
Imagine Moon Shoes, but even more dangerous. Instead of strapping your feet into two blocks of plastic, you squeezed your ankles around a hard rubber ball with a piece of wood around it. It’s all the worst parts of a Pogo stick and those weird balance balls with the flat bottoms.
If you thought your ankles were in danger with the Moon Shoes, this thing makes those look like ski boots by comparison. If anyone tells you they could bounce more than one time before falling, ripping up their legs on the pavement, and never trying it again, they’re a liar.
Cabbage Patch Kids Snacktime dolls
Cabbage Patch Kids really wanted to reinvent itself by the time the '90s rolled around. A basic doll just wouldn’t cut it anymore, so the bigwigs over at Mattel came up with a not-so-brilliant idea: what if we made a doll that could actually eat? Kids would go nuts!
Well, people went nuts alright, but not in the way they hoped. What do you get when you put a motorized jaw and gears in a doll? That gluttonous garden baby would start chowing down on kids’ hair and reel them in until a parent chopped their hair off to save them!
Once again, a full recall had to be issued, with a full $40 refund given to around 500,000 owners.
Slip ‘N Slide
Who wouldn’t want their very own water slide in their backyard? Well, Wham-O jumped on the chance to sell you that dream … in the most cheap and unsafe way possible. Seriously, this thing is just a wet tarp.
See, the thing about real water slides is that they dump you out into a pool. A Slip ‘N Slide has you sliding head-first into whatever garbage you have on your lawn. Even if there’s nothing at the end, that instant friction of going from the plastic to grass wrecked your neck.
One man by the name of Michael Hubert broke his neck and became paraplegic on this thing. He sued Kansco, who tried to settle for $250,000, but he took the case all the way to trial and won a massive $12.3 million.
While not a traditional toy, these hammocks were targeted directly at kids. What could be so dangerous about a hammock, you ask? I mean, they’re just for chilling out, right?
Wrong. Around 3 million of these death traps were recalled in 1996 after 12 kids — 12 kids! — died in them. The cause was a lack of spreader bars keeping the netting in place, which allowed it to easily wrap itself around your neck.
Ride-on Power Wheels
These technically still exist in a different form, but the '90s version was wild. Remember how Toyota had to recall a bunch of cars because the brakes didn’t work? These are like that, but worse.
What didn't go wrong with these kid-operated cars? The batteries overheated all the time, with over 700 reports of overheating while being used, 150 fires reported, and nine kids getting physically burned. I know I desperately wanted one of these things as a kid, but I may have dodged a bullet on this one.
This is another toy revival, this time in 1992 from the '60s original. Again, this new version is technically safer, but this is the '90s we’re talking about.
Even though the metal plates were swapped out with plastic ones, and the oven you cooked these plastic critters in was designed to not open until they were cool enough, you’ve still got kids BAKING PLASTIC CHEMICALS. One whiff of these things feels like you’re dropping a digit off your IQ score.
Remember these stupid things? If you do, you’re probably wondering what the hell could be so dangerous about an ugly bracelet that wrapped around your wrist. They’re not big enough to even snap around a baby’s neck!
In this case, as usual, the flaw was in laziness and being cheap. Once this fad took off, plenty of knockoffs came out that used thinner steel inside that would more easily break and cut through the band to cut your wrists. Things went so far as to even be banned by two schools in New York in 1990.
Alright, I’m fudging things a bit to include this one since Laser Pointers were invented before the '90s, but sue me, the '90s are when they really began to piss people off.
I’m sure everyone knows how dangerous pointing one of these in someone’s eye is, and yet we all feel that urge the moment we get one, don’t we?
The list of regulations on this “toy” is outstanding. The Wikipedia section on it breaks it down by country and state for crying out loud. Some highlights include a dude shining one at Kiss during a concert in 1998, being banned by FIFA and the World Cup, and being a misdemeanor in multiple states to shine at a cop.