Seems you can’t turn around these days without hearing about some trusted toy being yanked from the shelves. (Dora, we hardly knew ya!) If you want to keep on top of the latest recalls, check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission database or BabyCenter’s product recall finder.

Meanwhile, we offer a graphic cheat sheet below, followed by explanations of some familiar characters’ risky business. Saucepan and wooden spoon, anyone?

Illustration by Keri Rosebraugh

All of these toys have been recalled. To find out why, see below.
Illustration by Keri Rosebraugh

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!

Rubber Ducky, You’re Not the One: Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores removed about 6,000 rubber ducky watering cans from its shelves this summer, after the beak (aka spout) was found to contain lead paint.

Holy Bad PR, Batman!: Mattel announced in mid-August that it would recall 345,000 Batman and One Piece action figure sets, due to the risk that magnets could fall out and be swallowed. The company received 21 reports of such magnetic mayhem, though no injuries were reported.

War Is Hell: In mid-August, Mattel also pulled back 253,000 of these personable military vehicles, concerned over the possibility of high lead levels in paint. Some kids got lucky: only the die-cast vehicles stamped “China” had to go; those stamped “Thailand” were deemed A-OK.

Sunny Day, Everything’s … Just Eh: In early August, Fisher-Price announced the recall of 967,000 items featuring beloved characters from shows like Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and Go, Diego, Go! The toys, which were manufactured in China and suspected to contain excess lead levels in paint, included “Elmo in the Giggle Box” and “Surprise Inside Diego Eggs.” Surprise! Your toys are toxic!

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

An Oldie But Woody: In 2003, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts recalled 40,000 Woody dolls sold at various outlets in Florida, prompted by fears that kids could take off the Toy Story character’s buttons and choke on them.

Off Track: In mid-June, RC2 Corp. put on the red light for 1.5 million wooden Thomas the Tank Engine toys. Seems the toys were doused in lead paint (and manufactured in, you guessed it, China).

The Paws That Refreshes: More magnetic fun for Mattel, which recalled about 1 million Doggie Day Care play sets in mid-August, citing concerns that small magnets could fall out of the toys and be swallowed. Snack Time with Cookie, indeed.