Edward M. Swartz’ introduction to the frightening world of dangerous toys came about in the course of his work as a lawyer. In his investigations of the toy industry on behalf of Congress and clients, he became painfully conscious of the risks to children when their playthings unreasonably expose them to grave physical and psychological harm. Their toy boxes are secret havens for death traps.

For over thirty years, Edward M. Swartz had occasion to look into the network of common and statutory law that purports to protect children from unsuitable and dangerous toys and other youth-targeted products. The law can provide some degree of redress to the injured once an accident has occurred, but this is not a sufficient remedy. Even one injury to a single child is too many — especially if it could have been prevented.

Edward M. Swartz found a labyrinth of federal and state agencies with cross-purposes and responsibilities, countless loopholes in the laws designed to protect children, and a morass of technical obstacles to overcome when trying to prevent and keep dangerous children’s products from surfacing in communities.

Due in large part to the measure of attention the media has given his work and the excellent response to and acceptance of his books, Toys That Don’t Care (Gambit Books, distributed by Houghton Mifflin, 1971), and Toys That Kill (Vintage Books/Random House, 1986), he was able to force the industry to redesign and, in some cases, eliminate many offending toys. While this is gratifying, more must be done. What is necessary is to educate the next generation of consumers about these perils.

As he stated in Toys That Kill, “Children must be educated about the dangers that can exist for themselves, their friends, and relatives, brothers and sisters. They must learn to be concerned citizens and crusaders against things that are harmful to themselves and over which they can exert some control.”

With the help of W.A.T.C.H.’s programs, including lectures and the “TOYS, YOU and the REAL WORLD” grade school curriculum, parents and children will gain the knowledge with which to make their own informed decisions about toys and other children’s products already in use in their homes, and elsewhere.


Edward M. Swartz knew the children and their teachers would come to share his enthusiasm and excitement about “TOYS, YOU and the REAL WORLD“. W.A.T.C.H. looks forward to visiting schools, so that we can learn from the children what the consumer advocates, manufacturers, and retail stores should be doing to make their world a safer place.