We've already offered you a selection of highly annoying gift ideas for the parent you'd like to drive slowly insane, but now we up the ante every so slightly: Here is our guide to toys that will inflict actual injury upon children you absolutely can't stand, free from worry of prosecution. (Conversely, you may actually want to avoid these toys, many of which have been identified by consumer watch lists as the most dangerous of 2011.)
Fold & Go Trampoline
What could possibly go wrong with something that looks like a cross between a geriatric walker and a trampoline? Quite a bit, apparently! Available in toy aisles and advertised as appropriate for "ages 3+," it's only once you scrutinize the fine print ("the only function on this trampoline should be a controlled bounce (exercise), for young children. No other functions should occur other then [sic] controlled bounce") that you begin to realize the awesome, toddler-launching capabilities of this anti-gravity cannon.
2012 is going to be all about child survivalism, what with The Hunger Games debuting. Take extreme caution in choosing survival weapons for your child, however. Zing Toys' "high-performance" bow and arrow contains three arrows that, while foam-tipped, nevertheless offer ample opportunities for blinding slower, younger siblings. Yes, the herd will be thinned — but at what cost?
Z-Curve Bow: $26.99 [Amazon]
Power Rangers Samurai Mega Blade
Ah, the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Who has anything but the fondest feelings towards this crime-fighting society of color-coded gimps? Their attempts to bring the art of ancient Japanese weaponry into your living room could result in an accidental appendectomy, however — particularly when this rigid plastic Mega Blade extends its entire "2 feet!"
Power Rangers Samurai Deluxe Battle Gear - Samurai Mega Blade: $26.99 [Toys R Us]
EZ Stepper Stilts
The Incredible Shrinky Dinks Maker
The smell of charring plastic we associate with Shrinky Dinks bring back happy, braincell-erasing memories of our distant youths. Back then, we'd have to use an actual oven to produce the magical shrinking effect. But today, children have the ease and convenience of a Shrinky Dink factory — one that uses a 120-volt current to power a "heating chamber." Within minutes, plastic cutouts of Justin Bieber are reduced to sizes even tinier than Justin Bieber in real life! Just don't stick your fingers too far in the holes, kids, or zzzzzzzzzzzzap!
Anything by Playmobil
Bisphenol A is a toxic chemical that can affect brain development and reproductive organs after long-term exposure. And guess what — it's in hundreds of toys! Including much of the Playmobil line, which means your child's Fairy Tale Pavilion may turn out to be more of a Gazebo of Sterilized Terror.
Fairy Tale Pavilion: $22.99 [Playmobil]