Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” wasn’t the only one. Plenty of kids are still warned by adult buzz-kills that their requested holiday presents will cause them to “shoot their eye out.”
Like the infamous Red Ryder BB gun, gifts that apparently pose a danger to today’s young recipients usually resemble weapons. The advocacy group World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (WATCH) collects a list of many they specifically discourage for safety reasons. They include the Air Storm Firetek Bow, which shoots glow-in-the-dark arrows. Eye doctors specifically warn the Firetek can cause bleeding, cataracts, and retinal detachment.
Geez, even Ralphie’s detractors didn’t go into so much detail.
Also present on WATCH’s list of the “10 Worst Toys” are the Catapencil, a pencil with a slingshot on the end, and a bottle rocket kit. A replica machine gun that doesn’t actually fire projectiles makes the list, due to worries its appearance will place children in dangerous situations.
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These toy makers commonly place warnings on their products, although the implication by groups like WATCH is that they shouldn’t have been made to begin with. Some buyers have also suggested that manufacturers should provide children with eye protection along with their toys.
But ultimately, the decision and responsibility may lie with the same parents who braved lawn darts, sun-baked metal slides, and home chemistry sets. They must weigh fun versus danger and decide together whether it’s worth the thrill for their children, and, unlike Ralphie’s parents, minimize the risk with official protective gear.
Don’t give up hope yet though, kids. In the case of both my own Christmas and Ralphie’s, Mom objected, but on December 25 I still found “Santa” had left a BB gun under the tree.