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DANGER LURKS AT EVERY TURN IN HOLIDAY SHOPPING FOR KIDS

SHARE DANGER LURKS AT EVERY TURN IN HOLIDAY SHOPPING FOR KIDS

You'd think toy manufacturers would learn a simple lesson: Try not to make anything that will choke, blind or maim your target market. But no. Every year child-safety groups rummage through the stores and find things like the Happy Bag o' Small Round Windpipe Blockers, or the Funtime Box of Shards or The Running-Around-the-House-with-Scissors Relay Race game.

This year is no exception. Consumer advocates have found dozens of shoddy goods that can harm kids. But have they found them all? We've undertaken our own study and would like to add the following items to the list.BCCI jigsaw puzzle. Contains 10,000 pieces, none of which fit together no matter how long you look at it. May cause kids to hold vague press conferences, and then resign.

Nontondo Action System. Note: that's "Nontondo," not "Nintendo." The Nintendo system consists of video games and a special "gun" that fires beams of light at the screen; the Nontondo system is a cheap knockoff, and consists of a video cassette of an old war movie and an army surplus rifle. Game is useless after one shot. Not to mention the TV set.

My Little Pony Gelding Set. Contains sharp objects and anesthesia. Instruction book may be too traumatic for some.

Abstract-Expressionism Paint-By-Numbers Kit. Demanding; difficult; unrewarding. May cause some children to question Western emphasis on perspective and proportion.

Hideous RoboDeath Squirt-Action Napalm Gun with Dissolvo-Skin. Problem: Does not contain Napalm, so kids may be disappointed. When buying presents to celebrate the holy days, parents should remember to always check to make sure Napalm is included.

Let's Play Crackhouse. Board game; object is to lose everything and nod off while lighting up your last pipeful, thereby burning down the house. Major concern: Small plastic rocks are not really smokable, and are actually more toxic than real rock cocaine.

Nerf bike helmet. Say no more.

Sea Gorillas. A larger variety of the popular Sea-Monkeys, these are crustaceans that spring to life when you add water. Sea Gorillas, however, grow large enough to leave the bowl and threaten people.

The Little Mermaid Cannery Factory. Outside, it's a merry pink funhouse; inside, it's a hellish nightmare for Ariel the Mermaid and Sebastian the Crab. Again, may be too traumatic.

My Little BrickMaker. Oven reaches temperatures of 5,000 degrees, and is insufficiently insulated; may set housepets on fire.

My First Nail Gun. Hard to imagine what they were thinking of with this item; it is a parent's nightmare, a toy capable of putting out someone's eye from across town.

Hackerina, the doll for young computer users. Small computer included. Kids are supposed to help Hackerina break into a mainframe computer. Unfortunately, the small computer is programmed to call a 1-900 number set up by the toy company, which adds a hundred dollars to your phone bill each call. Parents will not be convinced when the child insists Hackerina did it.

"Beverly Hills 90120" Cancellation Cast Party dolls. Pull the string, and the dolls say "I'm looking at some movie projects." That's all they say. Over and over. With increasing desperation.

My Little Third-Party Candidate Troll. Try to pose it, and it bites you. Disappears for weeks at a time; reappears and expects you to love it.

Crash Dummy Cabbies. Crash Dummy Cabbies comes with a wind-up passenger in the back seat whose arms flail around desperately looking for the seat belt. Upon impact, the passenger's head detaches and flies into the front seat, enabling the Crash Dummy Cabby to charge for two fares. Warning: parents may have to explain to child why interior of Crash Dummy Cab smells bad.

Wooden Blocks. Consists only of colorful shapes painted with nontoxic paint. Drawback: May cause child to develop an imagination, thus making him or her immune to needless, expensive toys whose limited use scripts your kid's playtime.

And we wouldn't want that to happen.