News of toxic toys have rocked the headlines this year, leaving parents reeling with possibilities that their children may have been exposed to lead poisoning. Millions of toys manufactured in China, many from brand-name companies such as Mattel and KB toys, have been shown to have toxic levels of lead. The recognition that the industry has an appallingly low lack of oversight has left parents not only worried about their children’s health, but also wondering what safe toy-buying options they have left.
As the holiday season approaches, it is time for parents to restock the toy box with safer toys- and to many parents that means toys not produced in China. So where to look? According to the Toy Industry Association, toys made in China make up to 80% of all toys sold in the United States. With statistics like that, parents need to do a little research before shopping for the holidays.
There are still several options for parents wanting to buy American made toys- but be prepared to pay a little more. Safety should come before finance, and it’s beginning to be clear just why those toys could be sold so cheap. For American toys, think Vermont Teddy Bears, Louisville Slugger baseball bats, Silly Putty, and Wiffle Ball. There are several websites where parents can find US made toys, most offering a wide selection. The website www.usmadetoys.com is perhaps the most well-known, but is far from the only one. Also check out www.stillmadeinusa.com for a huge assortment of items- toys, clothes, tools, etc. For a size-able list of American toy companies, check out www.toysmadeinamerica.com.
The 2007 recalls have made many toy companies eager to prove their trustworthiness to parents, making it easier for parents to see where their kids favorite toys stack up. Several manufacturers websites are addressing the toy-safety issue, attempting to put parents fears at rest.
K’NEX, a leading toy manufacture, has posted a letter to customers assuring them that all bricks, rods, and connectors are made at the company factory in Pennsylvania, under strict US guidelines. They are adding a label to their products to state this. In the letter, they also address the issue of their toys made in China. Step2, a very popular manufacture of children’s toys and furniture, have also stepped up to the plate in addressing toy safety. On their website they state that nearly all their products are made in the USA, and have instituted a new labeling policy to make clear to consumers where their products originated.
Even when choosing US-made toys, there is no guarantee of safety. Parents must continue to monitor their kids toys, especially those that young children tend to chew on or place in their mouths. However, by buying toys made in the US, under stricter lead-content guidelines, the chance that the toys are coated in poison is less likely.