We all know that safety standards have changed over the years, and many of the things we gave to babies and children (or put them to sleep with or on) years ago would horrifying parents today.
It can be fun to think about handing certain beloved toys down to our children and grandchildren, but we all know we have a few that need to go straight into the trash (they’re too dangerous even for a garage sale).
These 17 people are naming the toys that might have gotten them killed, but luckily didn’t.
17. We were all totally unsupervised.
A chemistry set. My brother and I were totally unsupervised and never followed the instructions. We just mixed chemicals together at random to see what would happen. I remember one combination turned into this really smelly black foam-like substance.
My dad and his brothers didn’t have a chemistry set. But their father did let them play with mercury in his workshop. They also taught themselves to make…zip guns, I think they were called? Basically, guns crafted from parts like car antennas.
16. I remember “playing” with mercury, too.
My dentist used to give me Vials of Mercury to bring to school for show and tell. My parents bought me a rock collection at a natural history museum that included a chunk of asbestos from which you could pull fibrous material.
We also had metal trucks with extremely sharp edges and lead based paint jobs.
15. They were learning, though!
My Dad was born in the 50s and chemistry sets in his day did not f*ck around. They had all kinds of chemicals in them that if mixed together could start fires or cause explosions – which may be fine in very small quantities but the chemistry sets explicitly did not give directions of how much or how little to use.
I think he said his chemistry set also came with a small amount of radioactive material (which I’m pretty sure was harmless unless you eat it).
His parents made him move to the garage when he started doing experiments so he didn’t blow up the house.
Anyway he went on to become a scientist so the chemistry sets did something right.
14. So many pyros.
Ohio Blue Tip matches. My grandma let us carry the box out her back door to burn shit. Strike anywhere! Boom- fire. Not sure how I survived.
13. An auspicious start.
As a kid in the 60s, my uncle looked up “gunpowder” in the family encyclopedia and headed off to the pharmacy with his pocket money. He could barely reach up to the counter, but they were happy to sell him a pound of each ingredient.
He now has a PhD in chemistry, and most of his peers have similar stories.
I have a crayon melter that melts crayons and lets you pour it into molds so you could make your own crayons and rings
turns out production stopped because of a failure to stop the heater from being turned on if the lid was opened
11. Dried chickpeas for the win.
Not zip guns but as kids we would make these weapons out of a 10″ PVC tube and a balloon. You tie the balloon to one end, drop a pebble or small rock into the other end, pull back the pebble inside the balloon and let it go.
Those f*ckers would break skin and cause serious damage (broke a friend’s glasses once). You could also use dried beans as ammo.
I had the (potentially) even more dangerous version, a mini metal melter to make jewelry, in the late ’90s-early ’00s. Technically, it had a safety latch and wouldn’t switch on unless the plastic lid was closed over the smelter (?)… or a curious pre-teen Penguin decides to jam a pen into it and disable the mechanism.
Lots of unsafe fun was had.
9. You can’t forget the smell.
I had an incredibly heavy metal square looking robot that spit smoke it produced from burning oil. It smelled noxious and was heavy enough it could have easily been a murder weapon.
8. Sounds safe.
I remember a toy we had called Creepy Crawlers, it was basically an Easy Bake Oven for boys, instead baking food you put plastic into metal molds that were shaped like various insects.
After it was in the oven for a while you would take it out and have a new plastic or rubber “Creepy Crawler”
7. None of this spongey stuff.
Not a toy, but playgrounds were plunked down onto asphalt and concrete.
6. We really did have so much fun.
I had one that let me melt down metal and pour it into molds. Playing unsupervised with molten metal was lots of fun!
I remember making the motorcycle, skull, and wizard. Had a skull ring along with a magician and motorcycle necklace.
Even tried melting down other random stuff but it usually wasn’t hot enough.
5. The burning skin…
In the late 90s my elementary school had a metal slide about 15ft tall. The ladder to climb up, and the “railing” around the 1ft wide platform at the top were made of skinny metal tubing that got slick af when it was wet. The sides of the slide were about 6 inches tall, super easy to just go over the edge. Several kids fell or were pushed off over the years when I was there. One boy had to be hospitalized not once, not twice, but three times after jumping off it.
Around 2001 the school tore it down and replaced it with an extremely lame plastic slide about 8ft tall, with sides about 1ft tall.
Oh, and I have a children’s science textbook from the 1930s that describes all sorts of experiments with electricity kids can do with the power outlets in their home. What could go wrong?
4. He’ll never be the same.
I had a large red plastic toy box that looked like a treasure chest in my bedroom closet growing up. When I was around 7, late at night the toy box would start taking to me from the closet, calling my name, Michael, in a low, creaky voice. For weeks, I was terrified to fall asleep because I knew I’d wake up to the voice again, yet every morning when the sun filled my room I’d open the lid to the box and it would just be toys, like it should be.
Finally, I was able to convince my mom that I wasn’t making it up, and got her to sleep in my room that night with me, and shortly thereafter she woke me up with “Michael wake up, I hear it”.
Long story short, we discovered it was my Talking K.I.T.T. with very low batteries, talking away in slow motion by itself.
I don’t know if those should be illegal, but I definitely feel like the experience damaged me.
I had that barbie that was pregnant. And the My Little Pony one. The 80’s were a different time….
2. Also the candy ones.
We had these weird fake cigarettes that actually allowed you to blow smoke that was quite realistic. We freaked out a lot of adults with them.
There were these “fake” cigarettes that were white sugar with one end that was (“glowing”?) red that were sold in a packet of ten; each was wrapped in a round cigarette paper. I think Fanny Farmer Candies sold them.
1. That seems safe.
I never owned one, but you could buy a radioactive science kit that came with real radioactive material and a geiger counter.
Sometimes the new safety standards make me want to roll my eyes, but it’s probably a good thing these toys went away, yeah?
What toy would you add to the list? Share it with us in the comments!