18 Vintage Toys With Safety Question Mark

Returning to the past can provide a nostalgic journey, especially regarding vintage toys. However, not everything was as rosy as it seems in retrospect. Safety standards for toys have dramatically improved, making many vintage toys seem like potential hazards today. Here are 18 vintage toys that were, perhaps unknowingly, accidents waiting to happen!

Lawn Darts

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The concept of throwing metal darts around in the backyard sounds like an accident waiting to happen today, but lawn darts were once a beloved pastime. It’s no wonder they were eventually banned due to numerous injuries.


Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Clackers, also known as knockers or click-clacks, consisted of two acrylic balls attached to a string. They would be swung up and down until they knocked together, creating a satisfying ‘clack.’ However, the force of the balls could cause them to shatter, sending shards flying in all directions.

Gilbert Chemistry Sets

Kid playing with Chemistry Set
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The Gilbert Chemistry Sets of the 1950s and 1960s were every budding scientist’s dream. However, they also included substances like potassium permanganate, often used in fire starters and can be hazardous when mishandled.

Creepy Crawlers

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Creepy Crawlers allowed children to create their rubber insects using a hot plate. Unsurprisingly, this led to countless burns as children handled the heated molds and hot plates.

Slip ‘N Slide

Image Credit: B Brown / Shutterstock.

At first glance, a Slip’ N Slide sounds like innocent summer fun. However, if not used properly, it could lead to spinal and neck injuries. The toy has been deemed unsafe for use by adults and teenagers by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Atomic Energy Lab

Image Credit: Claudio Divizia / Shutterstock.

The U-238 Atomic Energy Lab was a radioactive learning set we wouldn’t dream of giving to kids today. The kit even came with four samples of Uranium-bearing ores, a relic from a less safety-conscious era.

Sky Dancers

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

These spinning, flying fairy dolls were loved by many in the ’90s. However, when launched, they spun unpredictably, leading to numerous reports of eye injuries, broken teeth, and even temporary blindness.

Snacktime Cabbage Patch Dolls

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Snacktime Cabbage Patch Dolls would “eat” plastic snacks fed into their mouths, which unfortunately didn’t have an off switch. Reports of hair and fingers caught in the doll’s mouth led to its recall in 1997.

Easy-Bake Oven

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The Easy-Bake Oven, a staple in many households, lets children bake mini-treats. However, the combination of children, electricity, and high temperatures often led to minor burns. A redesigned version focusing on improved safety is still available today.

Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

This toy spaceship from the late 1970s had a design flaw where the small, red plastic missiles could easily detach and become a choking hazard. This led to a high-profile recall following a tragic incident.

Power Mite Tools

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Power Mite Tools were a line of working power tools made miniature for kids, including circular saws and drills. As you might guess, giving children access to functioning power tools was not the best idea, leading to numerous injuries.

Austin Magic Pistol

Old Man looking stunned
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

In the mid-20th century, the Austin Magic Pistol was a popular toy gun that could fire ping-pong balls using “magic crystals” (aka calcium carbide). The resulting gas could ignite and cause small explosions, which led to it being banned.

Mini Hammock

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Mini hammocks might sound cute, but they were responsible for the tragic deaths of multiple children due to strangulation or suffocation. In response, one million of these toys were recalled in the early 90s.

Moon shoes

Image Credit: Khairil Azhar Junos / Shutterstock.

Billed as mini-trampolines for your feet, Moon Shoes was an ankle sprain waiting to happen. Despite this, they remain a symbol of 90s nostalgia.

Six-Finger Toy Gun

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The Sixfinger Toy Gun was a toy gun disguised as an extra finger, which could fire soft plastic missiles. However, the missiles were small enough to be a choking hazard, and the concept was widely considered bad taste.

Splash off Water Rockets

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

These water-propelled rockets were common in the late 80s and early 90s. Unfortunately, they were prone to explode, leading to numerous injuries and, eventually, recalls.

CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Based on the popular TV show, this kit included a powder for dusting for fingerprints. Alarmingly, the powder contained one of the deadliest forms of asbestos. After this was revealed in 2007, the kits were recalled.


Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Buckeyballs, powerful little magnetic balls that could be shaped into various structures, initially seemed harmless. However, if swallowed, they could cause severe internal damage, leading to their ban in the U.S. in 2012, a decision that was only overturned in 2016. Despite their return to the market, they’re accompanied by strong warnings about their use around children.