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Saving The Toy ....Industry

Posted Aug 26 2008 11:36pm

The only folks more concerned than parents about toy recalls, toy safety and Made in China

is the U.S. Toy industry.

The Toy Industry Association, (TIA) which counts as its members both large and small producers and importers of toys today announced the launch of a website

specifically, designed to answer consumers questions and ally their fears.

An excerpt from their press release...

Consumers should know that toys sold in the United States are highly regulated and the U.S. has strict standards for toy safety. No matter where toys are produced or by whom, to be sold in the U.S. they must comply with our U.S. standards. In response to recent product recalls, there has been an unprecedented level of scrutiny of toys by manufacturers, retailers and government, including testing and retesting of product to ensure the safety of toys on the shelves now and for the coming holiday season – and the Toy Industry Association, along with government agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission and related non profits such as ANSI (American National Standards Institute) are working diligently to strengthen the enforcement system going forward.

As of September 12, 2007, the Toy Industry Association has committed to the following additional safety measures:

  1. Mandatory product testing that meets rigorous safety standards
  2. Implementing a system for testing by qualified, accredited laboratories
  3. Providing open and direct communication and information to consumers

More information, including toy industry perspectives on key safety issues, is available here

I’d say they are worried.

As we all should be. The toy industry is a multi-billion dollar industry filled with companies (producers of about 85% of the toys sold in America are members of this organization) that (surprise) include crunchy favorites like Melissa and Doug, Lego, Plan Toys and Playmobil. Nobody wants this issue to go away more than the toy industry!

The TIA is very much on top of all the recalls and I expect each member companies has sent teams of folks to retailers, the container yards in my backyard ( Port of LA/Long Beach) and the factories in China to test every toy heading for the shelves this year. (This is gonna cost them a fortune by the way…so probably not a good time to invest in toy company stocks.)

A peak at a blog on their trade magazine, Playthings site is well...insightful. This is one worried industry.

What should we as parents think about all of this? Good. Good. Good.

I think I’ll still be a bit leery this year. I won’t spend any less on toys; I’ll just be careful what I buy. I’ll check out; I’ll favor manufacturers of wood and natural toys. I’ll try to stay away from toys made in China …though I know one item on the Hamster’s Christmas list that is made there. I’m going to the manufacturer’s site to check out what they have to say.

I’ll also do a few things I didn’t last year. I’ve joined; I’ll write to my representatives in Washington; I’ll keep writing about the recalls on this blog. I’ll keep the pressure on to ensure this doesn’t get swept under the carpet.

I doubt it will because….many toy company executives, managers and workers are parents too. Nobody really wants to injure a child.

Update: the CPSC also released some news for consumers. They have some good information about what to buy and how to shop. You can read their report here.

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