Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recalls of Child Products and Toys

Ok, it may seem strange off the bat that the title says 'child products and toys,' as if toys aren't child products?? Well, those are just the two technical terms provided by our lovely government on its recall database. So how on earth did I get on this topic? As most things go, it started off innocent enough.

There I was, exploring a cool website which you can easily lose yourself in (and btw, it's not all about children). When lo and behold, I came across an article on toy recalls. To my horror and disbelief, I immediately recognized the friendly face of "Big Rex," who just so happens to be one of my son's favorite book characters. Ok, so maybe it's really one of my favorite books to read to him. It is the cutest dinosaur book, EVAH! And unfortunately, for children (and parents) everywhere, "the lab determined that a red dot appliqué on one of the pages had a lead content of 1900 parts per million - nearly twenty times the content allowed for paint in the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act; six times the total lead content allowed by the law."

Oh you stupid red spot....I knew instantly that it meant the spotted Diplodocus was the accursed. So I read the recall details and basically you get a refund. Our copy was a gift, but I don't want the money! I. just. want. a. safe. copy. Is that too much to ask? And I'm sure I'll get some flack for this, but because it's a cloth book and I have been known to pick up a needle and thread before.... I'm going to perform a spotectomy with my trusty seam ripper. Aka removing the blasted spot. And praying that Diplodocus can live again. And if you owned the book, you'd understand.

So truly on a more serious note, I then proceeded to go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's website. I began reading thousands (literally) of entries in the Child Products and Toys categories. I won't lie, it's rather sad reading the blurb, "Curious George Plush Dolls Recalled By Marvel Toys Due to Risk of Lead Exposure." Some even make the toy sound malicious: "Hasbro Inc. Recalls to Repair Nerf Blasters; Child’s Skin Can Get Caught in Plunger of the Toy." And no surprise here, I'm sure you can guess correctly where the majority of these toys are manufactured.

And for parents who believe that wooden toys are the pinnacle of safety or eco-chic, you have been misled my friend. Dozens upon dozens of wooden toys still had traces of lead paint or choking hazards associated with them. So my point here is that I think we're under a delusion of safety. I'm not one to be a zealot either, but I do think we owe it to ourselves and our children to be in the know.

Please add the USCPSC's recall lists to your feed reader. It is easy and simple and it won't clog your inbox either. You can do so by going to their main page and scrolling to the bottom. I only subscribed to the childrens' ones, but they have other categories too: Household, Outdoor, Sports & Recreation, and Specialty.

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