Did you hear about the latest toy recall? This time, it’s GeoTrax trains and Barbie dog houses. Ah, a little something for everyone. It’s been quite a summer of lead paint scares, hasn’t it? Every couple weeks, the Consumer Product Safety Commission adds new dangers to its list; Mattel, Fisher-Price, or a lesser-known toy company issues a press release; and parents everywhere scurry to check the playroom for the dangerous toys. A Thomas the Train Engine here, a Sarge jeep there, Polly Pockets over here; it sure adds up.
Pretty soon, we’ll all be playing with wooden toys and sticks again.
Hey, that wouldn’t be so bad, actually. Simple toys that can be used several ways spark creativity and can challenge little minds more than the play-with-this-like-in-the-movie kind.
We’re so lucky, you know, to be living in a country and a time of such affluence. We weed out these “dangerous” toys, and, most of the time, our kids never know they’re missing. After all, every kids’ train set has at least two engines these days, and rare is the little child with only one toy jeep, truck, or car. So we’re lucky. Very lucky.
As I sit here today, watching my child drift off to sleep in a room with dozens of matchbox cars and not one but TWO train engines, I realize just how lucky we are.
But I weep for the children in faraway countries that are making these little toys, covered in lead paint or no, and for the children around the globe who have more serious things to think about than a missing James (the red engine, for those of you not in the throes of a Thomas obsession). The hungry babies in Africa. The children fleeing violence in Darfur. The little ones growing up fast, too fast, in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places that are too violent and loud for a quiet game of toy trains.
So keep those recalls coming, CPSC, and let us all know what toy to pull from our child’s hands next. We’ll do it. We want to keep our children safe.
I just wish that I could do something to keep the little children across the world safe too.
Edited to add: Want to do something about the lead paint in toys issue? Live in the D.C. area? Check out this article from the D.C. Metro Moms Blog sister site SVMomsBlog that tells more about what we can do and how we can do it — there’s a hearing downtown Oct. 1!
I read today that it has been 28 years since the International Year of the Child. I can’t help but wonder if anything at all has changed… Sigh.
I worry so much about what my kids can even play with, I hadn’t thought about the kiddos in China and other third world countries. Thanks for the reminder. We truly are blessed here.
As a frequent visitor to China, I can tell you that there are child labor laws and it is illegal for children to work in factories. Since the institution of the one child policy, the vast majority of Chinese children are wanted, loved, and well cared for.
We are indeed lucky to have been born in a “rich” country.
And sometimes, a little box and some paint is all one needs to be happy…
Rona, I didn’t mean to suggest that children in China specifically are making these toys. I have edited the post accordingly.
I’m breaking out the Tinker Toys!
Those are safe, aren’t they? Maybe I’d better check . . .
Also, there need to be WORLDWIDE safety standards for ALL children. We’ve two nieces from China (one just recently) and the standards are simply not the same.
My 5-year-old son’s favorite toys are sticks — that’s a “sword,” to you, Princess Zelda. 🙂
Most definitely, the best toys of my youth were sticks and towels that we wrapped around our heads, pretending they were flowing locks.
It wouldn’t be so bad to live in that world again.
Not so bad at all.
I sometimes wish that we could make all the children in the world safe.
My kids love to draw and paint and play with tinker toys and the linkin logs. Simple toys are better.
There is a certain guilt but hopefully a certain responsibility for being so privileged.
As for the sticks as toys? My little 2-year-old Quinn has been carrying around 3 sticks for the past two days calling them his rockets. He got REALLY mad when I made him leave them outside. But somehow some made into the house and I keep finding little pieces of sticks all over.
We are all, collectively, a very fortunate bunch.
This lead paint thing terrifies me. My son chews everything (and I mean everything, you should see the coffee table he gnawed through!). Wooden toys are still a worry – yes he especially likes those – as they are often painted, stained or treated with formaldehyde…. Perhaps I should run out and get a load of firewood so we can make our own toys! His school bag will sure be heavy if he decides to take them to school for show and share!
great post–i feel the exact same way. i don’t want this stuff near my kids at all, but t hose kids who actually have to work to make these toys–their suffering is great. and we are lucky. very.
I think playing with sticks is fun… to bad I can’t talk my 7 year old into the same. The recalls are baffling to me.
I’m all for the wooden toys and sticks! Here’s my favorite website for such toys—
It might be our safest bet these days!
Yes, WM, you hit the nail on the head. We are so, so fortunate.
As the mommy of 2 1/2 yr old Monkey Butt, I’m kinda thinking sticks n stones are the only way to go. But frankly, I don’t see it working for us. I might be able to make a passable stick for stickball but what about the ball? Dunno about anyone else, but I haven’t a clue how to make a decent ball that can actually bounce, although we could use my matzo balls for games of croquet. And I suspect I’ll have a hard enough time putting a bicycle together; making my own would likely require more valium then there is at the pharmacy!
Yes, I heard about that news… and it lasted for a few weeks on TV… kids can also card games or board games… I’m sure those are fun and informative!
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