Saturday, September 19, 2009

Toys, Recalls, and New Laws...

I already gave my 2 cents on Facebook concerning CPSIA (The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act); however, believe it or not, I still have a few more things to say! If you are unfamiliar with this new law you can read about it including the actual 24 page handbook here. The basic gist of it is that there are now very strict standards requiring toymakers (not just companies but also individuals) to test their materials for lead. Originally, it was interpreted to apply only to new toys, but now it will apply to old toys. This means that now the law does not only affect toymakers (including craft shows and Etsy) but also antique stores, second hand stores, garage sales, craigslist, etc. Toys found to have above the acceptable amount of lead may not be sold.

So....what does this mean to me? Why am I so upset about these laws? There are several reasons.

1. The reason this law was created was due to the recent recall of many Chinese-made toys. Why are we punishing American businesses when the problem seems to be limited to toys made in China? Why not be stricter about how we check imported toys and give greater consequences for importing such toys?

2. How does this help the economy? It means that more American businesses are going to have to spend extra money to prove their adherence to even stricter laws. This will hurt small businesses and individuals the most. Some may even choose not to sell used items or homemade items.

3. Many of the lawsuits, recalls, and now these laws have caused toy companies to change the types of toys they make. Most toys for young children are geared for the child who is interested in lights, sounds, and texture. If your child is more interested in things with lots of pieces, well too bad!

It is important to make sure that the toys produced are a degree. Risk is what makes life exciting and interesting. None of us as adults would want to live in a plastic bubble. I think part of the reason my child does not remain interested in most toys for very long is because they are too safe. Of course you don't want your child to get seriously hurt; however, children do enjoy experiencing things with a watchful adult that they could not do by themselves. They like to take walks, but you would not let them go by themselves (at least not at 1.5 years old). They like to splash in the pool, but you don't leave them unattended. The same holds true for toys. Children need to be monitored when playing with toys because there is always some risk. Perhaps the real problem here is the "Me Generation." These are the kids that never really grew up. They now have children of their own, but they still think life is all about them. They use television and toys as babysitters, and either they don't or they let someone else raise their kids. Nothing is ever their fault, and they do not take responsibility for their own actions. If you want to raise your child this way, that is fine, but don't ruin my child's opportunity to enjoy controlled risk in life!

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