Noa’s Ark

A place to start. A little something for everyone. Something to do while killing time at work.

Archive for toys

No Toys For Christmas, Part II

The No Toys For Christmas  post received a comment asking about age appropriate American made toys, which is a good question. Something soft and plushy for a real little one is always nice and yes, all the ABC blocks I have seen are rather expensive. The softer stuff is hard to find if you are looking for the made in the USA stuff.

I  will do some investigating and post what I can find. I know that craft shows around this time of year are a great place to get softer, plush type toys that are handmade. If you know someone who sews, maybe approach them about putting a fabric book together that has things like zippers and shoe strings attached to them. My daughter will play with the zipper on my jacket for over a half hour, seriously. Just make sure that everything is fastened on well and is not a choking hazard. Also – there are a lot of places you can get “memory” bears made. You can take in one of her baby blankets or even some baby clothes she can not wear anymore and have them made into a teddy bear. That may be a cheaper alternative to Vermont Teddy bears which are made in the USA but rather expensive I believe.

If I find anything else online, I will let you all know.

Thanks

Recalls Revisited

Beacuse so many people have hit on the original lead paint recall post, I decided to revist the topic. Another list has been issued.

Here is a pretty comprehensive list of recalls:

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/category/toy.html

An interesting spin on the story, though, that a lot of people may not have thought about is the impact this will have on Toys For Tots and other donation drives this holiday season. This is from a TV station in Indiana.

Toy Recalls Impacting Local Toy Drives

 This story comes from the Ventura Star and is a really good in-depth look at the trouble with toys and the upcoming holidays.

Recalls force consumers to reconsider toy purchases

One thing I have been thinking about, too, is – with everyone so interested in “GOING GREEN” these days…why not “GO AMERICAN MADE”.

I found this site that is a great resource for products made in the USA.

MadeInUSA.org

Gee- what a novel concept. If you’re going to help the environment, why not help the economy of that environment. Now I know that buying American could actually hurt the American economy, but you gotta start somewhere if things are to be turned around, right?

This Christmas will be the first for my daughter. We’ve already decided as a family to do American-made toys for her. Some peope we know have had toys made for her. Something as simple as a fabric book with strings and zippers and buttons on it will thrill her for hours as the store-bought fancy toys sit collecting dust and unplayed with.

Think about it.

Can we recall parents?

The really great Bumbo Babysitter seats have been voluntarily recalled in order to update the safety warnings and packaging…what I hate is that a really great product has had negative light shed on it due to user error.

Here’s the story:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21472055/?GT1=10450

I know that as a parent – even for the smartest most responsible parents – that accidents happen…I stopped using the seat when I saw that my child had started to rear back and could pop her little butt out of the seat. She couldn’t really “get out” of the seat fully, but she was workin on it and if done right, could probably throw her weight and topple the seat over even if it was on the floor.

Almost everyone I know that has had one of these has placed it on the counter while doing dishes or something. I just feel that as a parent, it’s your job to know your child. We want everyone else to think for us and tell us what is safe and what is not safe. What happened to common sense? If your child shows signs and the strength to be able to manipulate that chair or her body in a way that might result in injury, it’s YOUR job to make the call and end usage of the product.

Yes, McDonald’s coffee is hot.

Yes, knives are sharp.

Yes, when it’s cold and wet, ice can form, you can slip and fall.

Think for yourselves people. You bring a product into your home, you need to be responsible for its usage.

It says on the box, don’t place on countertops – best if used on the floor.

Bumbo – you have a great product. My child loved it. I started using it before she was 6 weeks old because she could hold her head up. She kinda got to chubby for it, so we couldn’t use it much past 4 months, but it was great. I took it everywhere with me and she loved it. I hope user error does not ruin another great product.

No Toys For Christmas

In a way, it serves us right…we have paid a price for convienence. But I will also say that it is unfairly paid.

http://children.webmd.com/news/20071005/more-toys-recalled-due-to-lead

The reason I knew that one of my child’s toys had been recalled was kind of sad.

And let me preface this by saying Noa has very few toys, just because, and I think most people know this, small children will play with anything and given the choice between a brightly, lead-painted, toy that plays music and spins around, and a piece of plasticware from the kitchen cupboard, they will choose the plasticware, time and again.

Noa’s grandmother has been very carefully thinking over what she should purchase for her only gradndaughter’s very first Christmas. Since she knows I am not the “buy every new toy out there” kind of person, she was making sure it was a really good choice. And it was, till she saw a picture of it online under a headline about recalls due to lead paint in toys made in China.

After clicking on the story and dealing with the dissappointment of not being able to get that really wonderful item for Noa for Christmas, she was upset by another image.

There on the screen was a picture of the only thing Noa really plays with consistently and has been chewing on, nearly since birth. It was a gift at my baby shower and the only toy I had actually requested.

Baby Einstein blocks. They are soft and colorful and make a little sound here and there. We played with them often. Now, mind you, only ONE of the blocks, the blue one, was recalled and the company was offering a free replacement. But I just threw all four of them away. Gramma had actually left work and went home and removed them all from the play area until we decided what to do. I even called the pediatrician. After a scare recently when Noa stopped crawling and rolling over altogether after becoming very mobile, (it was due to imbalance from an ear infection), I had to check. We all, of course, had been entertaining the notion of lead poisoning, whether we spoke it out loud or not, we thought it. How could you not think about it!

Now, the fact that I simply threw the blocks out brings up another important aspect of the gajillions of toy recalls.

http://www.thedailygreen.com/2007/10/08/lead-wasteland-even-after-recall-lead-toys-are-hazardous/7633/

 I realize I have contributed to this problem, but in my haste to rid the house of possible hazards, I apologize, I ignored the rest of the planet.

As a family, we are making an effort to look for made in the USA toys for Noa this year. In looking, I was delighted to see some of my old favorites and come to find out, we still have some of them. Lincoln Logs! They appear under another name it seems, but still made in the USA and available online.

Also available at reasonable prices (which can be found, not all USA toys are expensive) are the good old colored and stackable rings that vary in size and go over a peg on a stand.

Here is more information on finding toys made in the USA:

http://www.thedailygreen.com/2007/08/17/10-lead-free-toys-made-in-usa/5291/

http://www.thedailygreen.com/2007/09/11/x-more-toys-made-in-america-and-europe-too/6393/

 The last point I wish to address on this topic is: What happened Sam Walton?

Touted by many as the best businessman in America, the father of the almighty WalMart has failed in my eyes. Being the best businessman IN America, apparently doesn’t mean you have to stock your shelves with AMERICAN products.

I randomly plucked 10 toys from WalMart shelves recently and wouldn’t you know it…every single one of them was made in China.

Now maybe we get carried away with things, and the media can shoulder some of that blame, however, a recall is a recall and they are issued for a reason. I didn’t think about my child’s toys till this happened, because I knew – one: she didn’t hardly play with the ones she has and two: she didn’t have any of the varieties I had been seeing on the news.

Now, it’s almost a mission of my family to make sure we either make all her toys ourselves, which can be a fun bonding adventure, or we purchase American-made toys. It’s worth the time searching the net for what you want and the price you want. Support American-made toys and maybe, just maybe, they’ll make a comeback.