Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Hear that? It's a collective sigh of confused parents in the toy section of department stores. Why? Because they are all probably wondering what I am wondering - what the hell is safe to buy for your kid these days? Parents in stores are holding toys at arm's length as if they are about to spontaneously combust. I don't blame them - there is a strong possibility it might happen.

In light of the massive recalls over the past year, you really have to wonder these days just what we are buying for our kids. What may seem safe at the moment could be apart of another nation-wide recall in a few months time. It's not only confusing but aggravating as hell. And actually, disturbing. Why does the problem only seem to worsen?

It's because of two reasons in my opinion:

A) Big toy conglomerates are too damn cheap to ensure the quality and safety control of their products BEFORE they hit the shelves. They are looking for cheap labor, and bigger overhead. If they think putting out a re-call after the fact is saving face, they are really missing the point here. Why are they still having their products made in Chinese factories that are having repeated problems with recalls? I mean hell, even the main dude at the factory in China hung himself. Easy out if you ask me. Rather than owning up and trying to look for a solution, he checks out. I think a better solution would have been to throw lead-based Dora the Explorer figures at him until he begged for mercy.I would rather see these toy companies putting new policy in place and making sure their factories and manufacturing products that are safe from the start. I'm not sure who, in their right mind thinks it's ok to put lead in a child's toy. Probably the same people who want to save a few measly bucks.

B) The Government hasn't stepped in yet. I mean seriously... it's pretty obvious the manufacturer's aren't doing shit about the problem. In case you haven't heard about last week's AquaDots controversy where a 20 month old boy was in a six hour coma from ingesting some of them. Why on earth would you have a chemical on them that could stop respiratory functioning? Do they not get kids put a lot of junk into their mouths? The Government needs to step in and take care of this problem. They need to ensure that products imported into our country are safe for the consumer. I mean we have all these agencies that are supposed to protect us. When are they going to do something to protect the kids?

Funny things to consider: do you think any of the people in management at Mattel or likewise are giving any of their own products to their kids this Christmas? Makes you wonder hmmmm? I had to laugh when they wanted to give out coupons for tainted toys, to buy what? MORE of their products. Yeah that's exactly what I want... to trade down for more of their poisoned crap. And how long before the consumer just says "enough already" and just stops buying their products altogether? I mean I'm sure the head honchos in these big companies aren't too worried... because they aren't really doing too much at this point. A few million dollar lawsuits isn't going to cause them financial ruin. They are heading a multi-billion dollar industry. And what do retailers do to help the problem? Toys R Us is having these huge blow-out sales all over the country to try to get the consumer in the stores. I find it hard to trust myself to buy something just because it's half-off. I mean what good does it do if I'm yanking it from my kids two weeks later? And why do I have to be bothered to log onto their website, wait for them to send me a pre-paid postage label and return the product under their own time limit? I'd rather just take it back to the store. But the retailers wash their hands of it. They don't care that THEY sold it to me. They were more than happy to take my money, but now that I demand it back, they tell me it's not their problem. I beg to differ. These are products that you are peddling to the consumer. If they don't get that they are in this problem, they are even dumber than I thought.

I know parents that already had to take some presents back to the stores because they were on the latest recall hit-list. How do you explain to your son that sorry, you can't have that toy because it's dangerous and could kill you? All I have to say is I really wish there was a Santa Claus at this point. I hardly doubt he'd have his elves painting rosy faces on baby dolls with lead paint or stuffing them with asbestos. Good old St. Nick wouldn't be shimmying down the chimney with Polly Pockets that exploded or G.I. Joes that caused cancer.

So short of learning how to whittle - I guess I'm stuck buying what I can deem "safe" for my children's Christmas and pray that the girls actually get to KEEP what Santa brings them this year. And if not, not to worry - the companies will surely do their part in "protecting the consumer" by issuing yet another mundane recall.


Maria said...

Liv was nuts about her aquadots but after I read her the story about them, she tossed them without comment.

I'm just really lucky that she is older and isn't sucking on her toys anymore.

Christmas is easy for us. We buy her 1 book, 1 article of clothing, 1 game and 1 large purchase. This year she wants a new skateboard.

Hopefully, it won't get recalled.

Noemi said...

You are so right! Mickey has been asking for the aquadots for Christmas and he even wrote it on his letter to St. Nick! How do you explain to your 4 year old that what he asked Santa for Christmas is not going to arrive! Something needs to be done!

Anonymous said...

It's a crazy time. I'm not sure what I'm gonna get for the kids yet. I'm leaning toward books, puzzles and art supplies. I'd hate to have to chuck things from Santa.

Anonymous said...

Even puzzles and art supplies are made in China. I have been so disappointed as I am finally checking the made in labels carefully. Everything is made in China. My kids are also getting books and a few wooden toys from Germany. That's it. Good reminder to focus on the reason for the season anyway.

Chrissy said...

I guess this is the plus side to me not having any money this year to spend of gifts - I won't be buying crap that could harm my child.
I have given the grandparents a list of arts & crafts supplies that I would like for Timmy - hopefully they are smart enough to not buy paints from China.

tulipmom said...

I found it especially disgusting that Aquadots were advertised as being on sale in the Toys R Us flyer that came in today's newspaper.

I'm having one hell of a time shopping for SB's Chanukah and Dec. birthday gifts this year.