By Richard Valdmanis
BOSTON (Reuters) - A plastic battle hammer for 3-year-olds, a glow-in-the-dark bow and arrow set and a pencil that doubles as a slingshot are on the short list of the most dangerous children's toys this holiday season.
The annual "10 Worst Toys" list published by the U.S.-based consumer watchdog World Against Toys Causing Harm is meant to ward parents off of impulse buying for their children ahead of the holiday shopping surge.
"Toy guns, bottle rockets and bows and arrows on the list this year may seem exciting and intriguing to children, but have the real potential to lead to tragic, sometimes deadly consequences," W.A.T.C.H. said in a press release.
Topping the list is the Air Storm Firetek Bow, manufactured by Zing, which can shoot glowing arrows with bulbous tips up to 145 feet. Zing marketed the bow alongside the roll-out of adventure film "Hunger Games II," in which the main character is an archer.
W.A.T.C.H. said the toy can cause eye injury.
"Children and their parents tend to purchase toys popularized by favorite movie or television characters," W.A.T.C.H. said. "Parents should avoid these impulse purchases, know the hazards to look out for, and thoroughly inspect a toy and its packaging prior to purchase."
A spokesman for Hong Kong-based Zing was not immediately reachable for comment.
Others on the W.A.T.C.H. list include the Catapencil by Toysmith, which is a writing implement and slingshot in one, and the SWAT Electric Machine Gun by Junxing, which W.A.T.C.H. says looks real enough to get children into trouble.
Toysmith official Son Yong Yu said the Catapencil was a "novelty item" and not a toy. Officials at Junxing were not immediately reachable.
According to the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission, there were 11 toy-related deaths of children in 2012, along with more than 260,0000 toy-related emergency room visits.
A spokeswoman for the Toy Industry Association said the industry was meeting stringent federal safety standards.
Other toys on the list include children's bottle rockets, a two-foot-long plastic "battle hammer" for kids ages 3 and up, and multiple other toys that W.A.T.C.H. said presented choking and strangling hazards.
The complete list can be found at: http://toysafety.org/