Everyone seems to have a different definition of what constitutes a terrible gift for a child.
Me? If it's a fire truck and doesn't have a volume control, no thank you. Or it's packaged in a clamshell or bound to its box by a dozen of whatever you call these teeny little diabolical torture ties, again, the generosity is appreciated but no thank you.
For two different national watchdog groups which just released their annual lists of the "worst" toys of 2012, the definitions also vary.
The organization W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm) has safety very much in mind, with all of the toys on its list posing choking or other hazards to children.
This inexpensive little fishing game is singled out for claiming it's appropriate for 16-month-olds, yet contains small pieces which mandate it simultaneously including a warning that it is not safe for children younger than age 3. A toy sword makes the list for its ability to become a 4.5-foot "megasword" and, in the process, the group says it "has the potential to cause facial or other impact injuries."
The concern is less "safety," more "social" for the CCFC(Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood) whose list is filled with toys which reinforce gender stereotypes or encourage kids to zone out in front of a screen.
A stuffed monkey with a video screen jammed in its belly and aimed at infants carries this description from the organization: "A teddy bear just won’t cut it for today’s jaded, screen-addicted babies... it is guaranteed to give (your baby) a head start on a lifetime of needing screens for comfort."
Keeping babies far away from attention-sucking screens and gadgets? Seems like a pretty OK idea to me.
Follow Jonathan Anker on Twitter @JonFromHLN