Thursday, November 08, 2007

Toy Recalls: Oh, the Angst!

They just keep getting stranger! Read this NY Times article on the Aqua Dots recall.

The toy recalls make me want to box up every toy in the house and start from scratch. Heck, the kids can play with leaves and sticks, right? They don't need toys!

Admittedly, the Aqua Dots one is more disturbing than the more-common lead scares. That a child's toy has an industrial chemical, used deliberately (and yes, used for its intended purpose, which is to prevent water-soluble adhesives from adhering prematurely) that can metabolize into a date-rape drug? That is enough to scare any parent into using only homemade natural toys. Many blogs are tackling this issue, including Parent Bloggers.

The real question is, what to do about the whole phenomenon? Should we all stop purchasing mass-produced toys? What about avoiding toys that are manufactured in certain countries? The problem there is that it's simply hard to find toys that aren't made in China. And that isn't even enough to keep your kids safe. The recent Mattel recalls were for design issues, that is, things that Mattel had control over. It's one thing for a factory to substitute a cheaper, but potentially unsafe for children paint. But when a toy has a design flaw that can lead to an injury? How do we protect ourselves? Information of course is key. Be sure to check the Consumers Union for details of the recent (and, I fear, upcoming) toy recalls.

My answer: keep it simple. Keep the amount of toys in your home to a minimum. Ask for gifts other than toys for holidays and birthdays. Books, gifts of experiences (such as a zoo trip or membership), and clothing are safer choices. Also, consider sticking with the classics: Lego and Playmobil are made in Europe and have been for decades. Both lines have options for multiple ages, and are toys that can jump-start the imagination.

What do you think? What choices will you make this holiday season?


mama k said...

I agree. I want to keep it simple. We are doing a couple nice toys, some handmade by me. DH and I are just exchanging stockings. I am trying to live by the "less is more" mantra this year.

My entry is here :)

clutter buddy said...

This time of year is hard with all the holidays and two of the kiddos birthdays in November. I've asked gift givers to keep it to clothes and books for b-days. For Christmas it'll be all about the love of the WII for the big girls. Miss. A will be getting a pink Nintendo DS so she can have her own and stop borrowing big sisters'. Haven't decided on the little man. We are going to again request things like clothes, books, maybe WII games, but also experiences. I expecially think it would be cool for my bro and sil to take the kids to movies or something. Kids would love it and there would be a small fun factor for me thinking of the 2 of them with my 4 kids by themselves. LOL I am evil, I know.

Cecilia said...

We generally give books and simple handmade toys for the holidays. It gets more challenging with the preteens who want things like "gift cards to Claire's" though!