Most of you have probably heard about the recent flood of recalls due to unsafe levels of lead in children’s toys. The Parent Bloggers Network is teaming up with the Consumers Union to raise awareness and work toward marketplace corrections. As part of their project, they are asking parent bloggers to write about what they are doing in their homes to combat this problem.
I posted about this once before when we found that one of Jack’s birthday presents was part of a recall. That item is still awaiting return to KB Toys because I have had no time to run around town to return something that Jack doesn’t even play with for something else that will probably go ignored, as well. He is more interested in books, or the cats, or spatulas and the dishwasher latch. Joe has said on numerous occasions, “All this money spent on toys and he prefers the toilet paper rolls!” Uh huh!
The money spent on toys wasn’t spent by us, though. We were showered before Jack was born, and then Jack was gifted during the holidays and on his birthday. Gifts are a huge deal when kids are brand new, it seems. Luckily the gift train has slowed significantly. The people still buying are also asking what they should buy, and I suggest clothing and shoes or books. If others purchase those things, then Joe and I can focus on making the informed choices regarding which toys to get.
How will we make those choices? First, we will avoid buying at dollar stores and other discount stores where price is more important than quality. We will avoid painted items altogether (a good policy with a young child anyway, since Jack still chews on toys), opting for natural wood items when applicable. We will buy toys made by hand through etsy.com and through reputable companies who participate in fair-trade practices. We will avoid imported items, as well. Of course, it goes without saying I’ll be diligently reading the informative sites to keep up on the growing list of recalls.
Most of all, we will avoid buying toys. When given the choice between being read to by one of us or playing with a plastic cell phone, Jack will choose the book every time. He would rather run down the hallway screaming like a banshee than build block towers. Dancing around the house and playing hide and seek are more appealing to him than anything in his toy box. So we will focus on activities, which is what we should be doing with our child anyway. Interaction instead of stuff.
And maybe the toy industry will get better, and that will be great. In the mean time, we don’t have to rely on it!