There’s been a rash of toy recalls this year (“Really,” you say, “you noticed that?”) and most parents are understandably antsy when it comes to shopping for safe items for their kids, now. No one purposely buys something for Junior that could potentially choke or poison him. (Um, no one I know, anyway.) The assumption used to be that anything you found in the store, certified safe for children, really was. Recent events have shaken that belief.
There’s no shortage of information on the ‘net about what’s happened, what’s being done, what you should do, etc. If you’re concerned—and I’m not going to minimize this; if you’re a toy-buying consumer, you should be concerned—avail yourself of these resources. If you’re shopping here at Ty’s Toy Box, they now have a Frequently Asked Question area addressing toy recall concerns, which encourages consumers to check out the Toy Industry Association’s dedicated site, ToyInfo.org, to stay informed.
My children are past the put-everything-in-their-mouths stage of life, so I have not personally been touched by any of the recent toy recalls. But as a parent I do want to stay abreast of the issue, lest I unwittingly bring an unsafe product into my home. (But then, I feel that way about all sorts of products. I still think I’m more likely to burn the house down with our toaster than my kids are to decide to eat pieces of a craft kit. Maybe I’m naive.) And I know that sometimes the information we want and the information we actually get are not one and the same.
So here’s something to think about: Recently Liz over at Mom-101 was contacted by someone doing PR for ToyInfo.org. You should read her whole post to get the backstory, but the end result was that Liz has been given the opportunity to ask Toy Safety Industry VP Joan Lawrence whatever burning question she feels best represents parents’ current toy safety concerns. Liz is soliciting suggestions over on her entry. It’s good reading even if you don’t have a burning question, but if there’s something that really on your mind, go visit Liz and tell her about it. Your question might end up being answered by The Powers That Be.
In the meantime—use common sense about the toys you bring into your home. Pay attention to the age ratings, and pay attention to your kids when they play. Send in product registration cards and take away broken toys and all those other things you already do. You need to be aware of these things, but you don’t need to buy into the hype that nothing’s safe anymore, because that’s an overstatement of reality.
There’s a difference between being vigilant and being scared. Which, if you think about it, is probably a good motto for parenting as a whole.