Fearful Toy Shopping This Holiday Season
This summer I was thrilled while watching my son and one of his best friends sitting quietly at a table, manipulating little plastic dots onto plastic frames. My son isn’t crafty and I was really surprised to learn that the two of them had been at it for hours during their play date. Luckily for us, my friend had bought the beads that have to be ironed in order to form colorful figures such as stars, horses, and fish. We ended up buying this same toy last week and William played again for hours with his cousins. A toy quite similar, and considered to be less hazardous since no hot irons are required, seemed like a good choice for a Christmas present. Aqua Dots, the exact same type of toy, is just as addictive. Kids sit for hours, placing various colored beads into patterns that once sprayed with water, hold their shape.
Well, after reading the news this morning in horror—I’ll check this toy off my Christmas list. The little plastic dots of the Aqua Dots pack contain a chemical that converts into a “date rape” drug once ingested, which can be lethal, according to reports from the Associated Press.
Yet another Chinese-manufactured toy has been recalled—this time after two children in America went into “nonresponsive” comas and three children in Australia were hospitalized. After checking the Consumer Products Safety Commission site, I am relieved to learn that the two American children have recovered.
“A twenty-month-old child swallowed several dozen beads. He became dizzy and vomited several times before slipping into a comatose state for a period of time, was hospitalized, and has since fully recovered. A second child also vomited and slipped into a comatose state and was hospitalized for five days,” a Consumer Products Safety Commission report stated.
This latest round of recalls leaves me with a complete distrust of our toy-manufacturing industry. How much more of this can we take? I don’t know about you, but going into this Holiday season, I will surely be cautious about what toys I buy. But it’s hard to know how to be cautious. Do we just avoid all toys manufactured in China? Are all of them labeled as such? Aqua Dots is distributed by Toronto-based Spin Master Toys and sold by Australia-based Moose Enterprises—so is it labeled as made in China on the outside of the box? And what about the other toys that were recalled this week as well for lead contamination? According to news reports, 405,000 toys, mainly cars, were recalled.
“The recall includes about 380,000 Pull-Back Action Toy Cars imported by Dollar General Merchandising Inc. of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, and 7,500 Dragster and Funny Car toys imported by International Sourcing Ltd. of Springfield, Missouri,” reports the Associated Press.
- Duck Family Collectable Wind-Up Toy (by Schylling Associates Inc.)
- Dizzy Ducks Music Box (by Schylling Associates Inc.)
- “Robot 2000” collectable tin robot (by Schylling Associates Inc.)
- Winnie-the-Pooh Spinning top (by Schylling Associates Inc.)
- 7,200 “Big Red” Wagons (imported by Northern Tool & Equipment Co.)
I guess the only thing concerned parents can do this Holiday season, is to keep checking the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Web site for its now, long list of recalls. That, or take a different shopping approach this holiday. One mom of two shares my sentiment. When discussing the latest round of toy recalls she lamented, “What do you buy your kids now? I guess this Christmas I’ll just buy books and DVDs and my kids like to play outside the most anyway, so outside toys work.” Perhaps we should consider giving more books, balls, crayons, and finger-paints to our children this year. Just make sure they aren’t made in China.
Photo courtesy of Consumer Product Safety Commission