The whole toy recall thing really hit me last summer. With our organic, fair-trade, shade-grown coffee, our organic strawberries (okay, sometimes), throwing out the polycarbonate sippy cups, no pesticides, blah blah blah, one would assume that toys were safe. They're toys! For children! I'd love to have a house full of lovely wooden, or European, or cloth toys, but the reality is that we don't. We even had to check our poor Thomas the train collection. That really got to me.
Even once you're comfortable with the fact that your toys aren't exuding lead, you come back to PVC and phthalates, not to mention poor labor practices (slavery, children being forced to produce goods, factory workers working for barely a living wage). Ugh. I love my little people (that is, the chokable Fisher Price toys from the 70s), but it leaves me wondering about whether their contemporaries are a good choice.
I honestly hope that the ongoing media coverage of this issue and the public backlash leaves the big toy companies thinking about the impact of what they're doing, if only from the realization that consumers aren't going to continue to buy junk. (...and I think that manufacturers and toy sellers have started to judging from Sassy's new natural wood baby toy line and the "Green Toys" section on Amazon).
Honestly, we don't need half as many toys as we have (and we don't even have that many), and I've really tried to shift to spending a bit more on great quality, reliable toys, games and puzzles from responsible companies (like HABA, who we love in this house). This has been satisfying not just as a consumer, but as an end-user, since experience has proven that these toys and, in particular, the games are way, way, way more fun that Candyland or the latest offerings from Fisher Price, et al. (sad to say, since I totally grew up on that stuff), and that the kids get so much more quality play out of each toy that you can--and should--have fewer playthings (I'll have to post more on that sometime, from the perspective of a Developmental Psychologist--the total overwhelm that comes from too freakin' many toys).
Tommorrow: So yeah, what do I do now?