Everybody's stocking up on those entertaining Buckyballs before a ban against them enters into force. But they're far from the first beloved product to earn the wrath of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Summer Saturdays were never the same once Jarts were taken off the market back in 1988. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the sale of the metal-tipped lawn darts after numerous head, eye, and ear injuries, especially in children. Some companies have skirted the ban by selling the metal tips and plastic fins separately.
Buckyballs (and Buckycubes)
For those trying to kill a few hours at work, Buckyballs and Buckycubes have been a classic companion (and they're great for making sculptures for the refrigerator). If ingested, however, the tiny magnet balls will snap together (as magnets do), often pinching intestines and requiring surgical removal. The ban moved into effect in 2010, but the CPSC is currently pursuing a stop-sale order against Maxfield & Oberton, since the Bucky products are still being sold.
The perfect balance of snuggle without smother, electric blankets feel incredible—until you fall asleep. After several cases of minor burn injuries, the CPSC recalled almost 20,000 Soiree and Soft n' Warm electric blankets. More modern electric blankets were manufactured to include rheostats, which measure the heat of the blanket as well as body heat produced, instead of the adjustable thermostats that were previously used to control heat.
Many a cheese-filled evening went wrong when the plastic rings surrounding the top of Trudeau Corporation's fondue pots started to crack, ending in burned hands and carpets. For a few months in early 2002, the defective fondue sets were sold at major retail stores such as Target.
(Read also: AA batteries put to the test)
Beanbag chairs were the staple of any den—a comfy yet cool indicator of relaxed hipness. But maybe the people who owned beanbag chairs were too relaxed. Several instances of small children unzipping the bags, climbing inside, and inhaling the tiny pellets were reported, with life-ending repercussions. Millions of free-zipping bean bags were immediately taken off the market in 1994. As a result of the recall, some manufacturers began making double-stitched and double-zippered bags, with a safety lock too.
Faulty stands, brackets, deteriorating wood planks, and poor build quality can make hammocks a secretly dangerous leisure activity. (Seriously, have you ever tried climbing into one of these things?) Since 1994, the CPSC has ordered 12 different recalls involving various hammock manufacturers, accounting for upward of 30,000 units.
Slip 'N Slide
Throwing yourself onto an obnoxiously yellow strip of plastic with (hopefully) just enough water to keep you slipping and sliding along—what could go wrong? If you're ever played on a Slip 'N Slide, you probably know already: Some people slid off the slide and onto concrete. Sometimes people didn't even make it that far, expecting a slip and a slide only to stop abruptly, resulting in some pretty serious spinal cord injuries.
The CPSC didn't ban the Wham-O brand slides, which sold 9 million from 1961 to 1992, but the organization advised that only children should use them. Sorry, teens and adults. You'll have to find another way to feel 8 years old again.
For reasons including unexpected water-tank projections and bystander injuries, several water-rocket manufacturers such as Hasbro were forced to recall about 230,000 of the famed toy in 2004. Descending rockets were also known to come back and hit people in the head, which I guess isn't really all that fun.
Even assembled properly, bunk beds are apparently dangerous. There have been almost two recalls per year since 1986, like the one in 2011 that affected nearly half a million beds. There have been instances of children being trapped between bars or slipping through them, and structures collapsing altogether.
Maybe these should be banned just for health reasons, but with burning oil and a scalding handle, deep fryers are also quite dangerous to the cook. There's a reason officials warn people each holiday season to be extremely careful if they're going to attempt to deep-fry a turkey. The CSPC has had to recall thousands of different fryers in the past decade.
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