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Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Bad Grandma Moment! Toy Recalls Rattle Grandma World....

 

update: No Test, No Trust, No Toy - Christmas 2007 by awakening Monday, November 12, 2007

The recall begins.....
I knew that my daughter was truly concerned and frustrated by the toy recall, because she sat and weeded through all of her child's toys, throwing many out. Some, because they were on the list and some because of gut feelings and some because there was no code or stamp to identify where they were made at all." Christmas, birthdays and just because toys, all tossed in the trash. I have been trying to keep up, but don't have the level of burden that my daughter and her husband have. I certainly have great empathy for all parents and caretakers of children, as I do for pet people.

Congress looks into Mattel after toy recalls: report Reuters Washington Post Friday, September 7, 2007 "In the past several weeks, Mattel has announced three recalls of toys made in China because of excessive amounts of lead paint and other dangers."

It sort of borders on madness, because the recalls are on 'things' that have been assumed safe by the public, made by good brand named companies. Not anymore.

Bush Administration Pro Business Stance Helped Create Lead in Toys, Bibs Crisis .Common Sense posted 08-28-07 “The overall philosophy is regulations are bad and they are too large a cost for industry, and the market will take care of it,”

Remember the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval? I don't know if that practice exists anymore, but it was equally heralded as a reliable back up to any consumer protection label.

Good Housekeeping "The Good Housekeeping Research Institute, founded in 1900 as an "Experiment Station," awards the Good Housekeeping Seal to products whose advertising claims have been reviewed by the GHRI." From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That is what I thought until the assembly line of 'bad' products started to be identified, already saturated in the market place, in the hands of us.....what happened to the Seal of Approval from Good Housekeeping? Man, am I old!

Luckily, my Grandchild has parents that love to read, love nature, love science and love to create things for their child. And luckily, they can make and build things for their child. But that isn't going to solve the problem of what the public has to endure, until we get back the kind of consumer safety protocol we once had. The one that actually holds the consumer up, above profits.

A new dilemma in Grandma world....

What happened to McDonalds Happy Meals? Anyone who remembers the original Happy Meals must have been very disappointed when they turned it into a sack of the same stuff that adults order, with the exception of the toy. When my kids were small, going to get a happy meal was a very rare, but a very special visit.

We would have been on an adventure of some kind. Maybe a trip to the museum, the beach or maybe we had been to the zoo. A visit to McDonalds was not a routine thing. Many times our meal trips were to an actual restaurant, but the Happy Meal visit was strictly for the kids on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

The kid friendly atmosphere, easy seating and the play areas were fun. The kids would see their friends with their parents and the parents would stand in line and chat while moving up to give an order. Nice. That toy in the Happy meal was the icing on the cake so to speak.

The other day, I had the most disappointing experience. It felt like I had let down the little tyke who hung out with me all day, while Mom and Dad were at work. Since I had a few days off from work, I was more than happy to hang out with my grandchild. The little person and I went on our adventure, she is now at an age where I thought a Happy Meal might add to the adventure of our day. So I asked for permission to include a trip to McDonalds to our itinerary.

Happier Happy Meals Campaign McDonald's is a huge client of Asia's toy making industry - "in the US, McDonald's can sell 100 million of these toys in 10 days!" by caito EarthMums.org April 30, 2007

First disappointment...one toy for all - I was told there was a boy or girl toy.

Second disappointment.... McDonalds handed me a sack! A sack? Where was the happy meal box? The happy box that held that happy meal. No more colorful box with a handle!

And then the biggest disappointment of all....the odd looking little blue toy, made in China (but I didn't know it at the time).

Toy Company CEOs to Testify on Recalls The Associated Press Washington Post Friday, September 7, 2007 "Other toy companies also have faced embarrassing recalls. In June, toy maker RC2 Corp. voluntarily recalled 1.5 million wooden railroad toys and set parts from its Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway product line because of lead paint. In July, Hasbro Inc. recalled Chinese-made Easy Bake ovens on reports of second- and third-degree burns to children."

"Durbin said government inspectors share the blame with toy companies for the recalls."

Things change.....

I didn't think to read the package before opening it up and taking out the blue looking thingy, happily giving it to my little guest, minus the blue pencil. Pencil, lead, toy.....didn't even register in my mind that the toy was cause for concern, even more than the pencil? Bad Grandma!

My little guest promptly stuck the blue blob head in her mouth, before the chicken nugget (which I was told she might prefer before anything else). I of course - being a bad grandma - didn't think lead paint and plastic toxins.

I automatically steered the blue wind up blob away from her mouth and made the toy shake all over the table. We did this for a little while, she tired of the shaking blob and tired of her meal. I instigated playing with the french fries. After I took a bite, I would exaggerate a "mmmmm" sound and exclaim "delicious!"

That turned out to be more fun than the un-Happy Meal, as my grandchild parroted me. I laughed and so did she. The fries were gross. We then went off to find some more really Fun things to do; a walk around the pond where the ducks and geese were playing and lounging, then over to the park to play on the swings, slide and kiddy cars. Spending time enjoying the world of fun, that was the best part.

It was later that night, when I spoke to my daughter over the phone that I learned that the toy was made in China, and therefore without a second thought thrown in the trash. I felt terrible that my grandchild was exposed to my negligence, my negligence of being caught in a happy meal delusion.

Some Toy Companies Could See Sales Rise By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO The Associated Press Washington Post Wednesday, September 5, 2007 "Among the most vulnerable brands, Johnson believes, is Mattel's Fisher-Price, the iconic preschool label which had built a reputation among parents for its carefulness but has been swept up in two of Mattel's three high-profile recalls of toys made in China and tainted with lead paint. The latest was announced just Tuesday."

Our back yard......

My children thrilled at the cool looking boxes and the toy hiding inside. Now I am a little more than ticked at myself and McDonalds for letting toys made in China get anywhere near a child.

I pretty much believe that it was and is our nations governmental departments that must hold local companies and imported company merchandise 'accountable' to a much higher standard, for what they put out to us. The pet food scare began, then came the initial toy scare, where many of my granddaughters toys went in the garbage. Good ?child safe? Brand names that one had always trusted, brands that served up safe toys when my kids were small.

I know that our nation had a much better track record and diligent methods for protecting us as consumers back then...thanks largely to people like Ralph Nader for not letting things slide by, he was the trail blazer, the pioneer of product safety first.

Disney to Test Character Toys for Lead Paint by Louise Story New York Times Published September 10, 2007 "Still, Disney and other marketers are clearly becoming concerned that their brands will be harmed in the long run if they do not intervene. Other marketers like Sesame Workshop also say they intend to test products independently. Nickelodeon, which licenses popular characters like Dora the Explorer and Diego to Mattel and other companies, decided to start its own double-testing program in July in response to the recall of Thomas & Friend toys made by the RC2 Corporation." AND "Retailers and toymakers fear that the recalls could put a cloud of suspicion over the entire toy business just before the critical holiday shopping season."

The sound system we had is largely gone it seems and now I am left to ponder "What Can I Make?" for my little granddaughter for the holidays and for her birthday, that is completely safe, yet fun.

If I hunt for any toys made in the US, how do I know if that is any better? Remember, our systems infrastructure is broken and what's to stop companies here, from trying to turn a profit by mass producing something meant for a child but not safe for a child. Only the workers will know. And if they know, will they risk telling and losing their job?

What's to stop them - U.S. companies from cutting big corners, too? Especially around Christmas.

Mattel announces third Chinese toy recall Reuters Washington Post Wednesday, September 5, 2007 "The world's leading toymaker, Mattel Inc, on Tuesday announced a third recall of Chinese-made toys, saying it would take back more than 800,000 units globally that contain "impermissible" levels of lead."

Grandma School here I come....

Sydney Grandma School Uncyclopedia

I guess I will have to go back to Grandma school again and take a class in 'Safe Toys Today 101' and ' What are the Safe Choices In Kid World 102? Or maybe, I should just take the entire Grandma program again, since things have changed greatly.

I will have to learn a whole other philosophy about what will make my granddaughters growing up more safe where manufactured items are concerned. I have all of the other grandma stuff pinned down, but this new world of toys, textiles and food, may require much more studying.

I may be able to take the Fast Track program, as I do have life experience and I do have common sense, probably could even test out of something. Then again, after the McDonalds episode and that darn blue toy, maybe I do need to start from the beginning.

aviis confidimus (In grandmothers we trust)

I wonder if I am too old to become a farmer?


Common Dreams Group Finds China Toy Factory Conditions ‘Brutal’ Published on Tuesday, August 21, 2007 by Reuters "The report comes as Chinese exports are under growing scrutiny abroad over safety concerns a week after Mattel Inc recalled millions of toys, including 436,000 die-cast toy cars from its “Cars” line, because they may contain excessive amounts of lead."

COMMENTS 31.....

dlnelson7 August 21st, 2007 "And as long as we buy their products and look for the cheapest prices we too are guilty."

AND

whateveryousay August 21st, 2007 "The multinational and American companies threatened to pull out of China if the government passed such regulations."

AND

zooeyhall August 21st, 2007 2:20 pm "All the CEO cares about is that at the end of the quarter or fiscal year, he can show a rise in profit."

AND

Rayberth August 21st, 2007 "Children have a great imagination which needs to be cultivated. They don’t need “action” figures of plastic that don’t even move."

AND

CarlG August 21st, 2007 4:57 pm Read the “IRON HEEL” by Jack London."Everything has to have that finished and polished look. Children have imagination but adults will not let them use it. Besides who do you sue if your child is playing with just a stick or a cardboard box. The EU gets safe toys and products that come off the same line. Why has our government not protected us? I thought we were all safer now."

AND

Hide Behind August 21st, 2007 5:25 pm "You cannot even protect your own workers and selves from poor work and living environments but you want to change the Chinese?"

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