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29 December 2016

Hottest Toy of the Holiday Season is Making Kids Cry

"Hatchimal", an interactive robot recommended for children aged 5 and up, is one of the hottest toys this Christmas season. All the fuss - even noted by a lawyers' association ! - is being made over the fact that sometimes the robot inside the egg fails to hatch. But who bothers to be concerned about its "hazardous" features? Who reads the users' manual? Our question is: when will parents wake up to the fact that such "radiating" toys are a danger to children's health?  See excerpts from the manual at the end of this post.

Hottest toy of the holiday season is making kids cry
by Alexandra Klausner, New York Post, 28 December 2016

The season’s most coveted toy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Scores of kids across the country were inconsolable on Christmas morning when their Hatchimal toys failed to come to life.

The Furby-esque robot is meant to “hatch” from its shell after 30 minutes of continuous play, but some parents complained that they had to force the toys out of their encasements.

Angry customers — some of whom paid up to $200 on eBay or Craigslist for the sold-out toy that retails for $60 — took to the manufacturer’s Facebook page to express their disappointment.

“Our Hatchimal wouldn’t hatch. 4 hours of rubbing and patting and watching videos and reading tips and tricks on the Spin Master website. Nothing! Our very frustrated 5 year old finally broke down and asked us if we could just break the thing open, she was tired of it!,” parent Jamie Zalewski wrote on the Spin Master Facebook page.

“Total disaster on Christmas Day. Had to hatch it ourselves. Way too much money for an under tested product. Poor Santa — how much disappointment from kids for him and his elves when it’s your fault,” wrote another.

Other parents described their frustration with the company’s hard-to-reach customer service line.

“Our hatchimal arrived with a big hole in the fabric above the wing (among other defects, such as trouble hatching and inability to remover from base). I commented here, and was told to DM for help (not to call, but SPECIFICALLY TO DM). I sent all the info by DM- pictures, summary of the issues, the e-mail address on my order, etc, etc, etc. 24 hours later, I received a form letter response about non-responsive Hatchimals and was told to contact the Spin Master phone support. WTF???? I’ve tried calling SEVERAL TIMES NOW, and still can’t get through. This is getting INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING,” lamented another irate parent, Jamie Aiden Meriwether.

Spin Master, which stopped short of acknowledging any defect with the toy, issued an apology on its Facebook page along with links to frequently asked questions and an instructional YouTube video.

Spin Master “is committed to making life more fun for children around the world with all of our products,” the company told The Post in an email.

“To ensure all queries receive a timely response, we have increased the number of Consumer Care representatives, extended our hours, and increased the capacity for callers in the queue to help prevent calls dropped due to the holiday volume. We have also created troubleshooting tips on Hatchimals.com and a video with the Top 5 Things To Know About Hatchimals,” it added.

Although the popularity of high-tech toys like Hatchimals is on the rise, some worry that the animated toys might affect children’s ability to interact with other humans.

And while some demanded refunds for the hyped-up gift of the season, others were thrilled with their new interactive robots.

“I know there have been reports of issues with the hatchimals, but both my kids got one for xmas this year and both hatched just fine. They were super happy with them,” wrote Brad Peters.


Excerpts from Users' Manual:  

"WARNING: Choking hazard... Keep hands, hair and loose clothing away from moving parts when power switch is turned ON. - Turn off the HATCHIMAL in your sight so that you can supervise it at all time...

"FCC STATEMENT: ... This equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the instruction, may cause harmful interference to radio communication...

"When this product has reached the end of its useful life it should not be disposed of with other household waste. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations require it to be separately collected so that it can be treated using the best available recovery and recycling techniques. This will minimize the impact on the environment and human health from soil and water contamination by any hazardous substances..."

Users' manual:

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