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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mattel Recalls My Sanity

So you may be wondering why two days have passed since the massive Mattel recall, and you have heard nothing from me on the subject. I, who pass along info of toy recalls, I, queen of the anti-chemical baby world. Because I have been sickened to a level that sucks the words right off my keyboard. There was nothing I could say but unintelligible grunting sounds and maybe an occasional muttered epithet. Now I'm a little more composed. But only a little.

Since the birth of our son, I've been more than concerned with the quality of baby toys. How do I know they're safe? Am I to trust any little company that manages to get a toy on the shelves? I marked my paranoia up partially to that overprotective nature that plagues most new mommies. When choosing a toy for our son, I'd pick it up in the store, furtively look up and down the aisle to make sure I was alone, and then sniff the toy. Aha! I knew it! This one stinks. Put it back. My guess was that if it stinks, something is in there I don't want a baby chewing on. Other than smell, I didn't have much to go on.

Now I'm even more in an upset. Getting all these recalls sent to my email, I was perfectly aware there was lead poisoning being pumped into our toy stores via China. But buying a toy that isn't made in China? Next to impossible. And what makes it even worse is knowing a mega toy producer like Mattel wouldn't even bother to do recurring quality assurance checks on what is being made in their name, thousands of miles away. How hard can it be to scrape a little paint off a toy and run a quick check? Mattel and Fisher-Price have built a business out of bringing pleasure to children, and their lack of concern for these children, their lack of foresight, shocks me.

Three children had to go through the pain of perforated intestines after swallowing the magnets out of some of the toys before Mattel saw fit to do a recall. Add to this recall, toys decorated in lead. Which issue did they know of first? Why did they wait to collect two recall issues before letting us know?

Bob Eckert, Chairman and CEO of Mattel, assures us in his press interviews that Mattel has the strongest safety standards IN THE INDUSTRY. I am not reassured. In fact, if that's true, we're all in trouble. I'll be searching for more natural toys for Christmas. Or I'll make them myself if I have to. I suspect that's how most of you feel too, and that's good. That means our toy dollars will go where we feel safe, and that will speak volumes to the toy industries. Maybe after all this, we'll start to see more visible reassurances that our children's toys are safe, and maybe then my sanity can be restored to be used for other worries. After all, driver's training starts in a mere 15 years...

For another article from a concerned mom, check out imperfect mommy's post. It was very well said, and I couldn't agree with her more!


Marie said...

I am so, so angry at the Chinese. How dare they think they can pull something like this off? Well, they did. And what's scary is, how long have they gotten away with it? I trusted Mattel and Fisher Price when my children were young. Was there lead in the paint 30 years ago? Now, I'm a grandma; I have to be interested in the toy recall also. What do I put in my toy box? well, the sewing machine will be humming and grandpa will be in the workshop!

Candace said...

this really is scary. Lucky for us, Conner doesn't evne like any of his plastic toys, lol. He much prefers to chew on books. My mom said that there are some distributing company's who are now adding "China-free" into their logo and trademarks, b/c people are becoming more and more upset by China-made things. So disturbing...

Diane said...

Candace, I'm not surprised companies are labeling their toys "China-free". It'll certainly make things easier on me! Oh, and my son chews on books too. I keep telling him that's not what I meant by wanting him to devour literature. Now I'm just wondering how many of his books were printed in China. Egads!