I don’t buy baby or toddler toys at the dollar store. Why? Because I don’t trust that they are safe, even if the label says they comply with standards. Frankly, I don’t trust them.
I have bought toys made by Fisher-Price because when I saw their brand name I, like other consumers, felt confident that the quality and safety of the toys they produced were consistent.
But now we find that in the case of 1.5 million of them, it’s not. And now we've got another million or so more.
Just about every toy I’ve bought says ‘made in China’ on it because it’s cheap to make things in China, and we’re starting to find out why. Health and safety standards seem to be an afterthought with Chinese manufacturers, even for toys that are used by the most vulnerable members of society.
Shouldn’t Fisher-Price ensure the safety standards on their products? I regularly see children put toys in their mouths. I regularly see toys with paint missing. If consumers can’t be sure that even name-brand toys are safe, what are we supposed to do? Who is ensuring the safety of children? It doesn’t seem to be the toy companies. Again and again we’ve seen toy recalls for parts that can choke and lead content. Toy jewelry for children isn't even regulated for the amount of lead! While it's heartening that Mattel went back and looked for more violations, it doesn't absolve them of the resposibility of not enforcing their own standards to begin with.
The Fisher-Price division of Mattel alone reported revenues of $410 million in the second quarter – not the whole year, just the second quarter – of 2007, and that’s before the yearly Christmas madness. That’s a lot of money. Maybe they need to start spending some of it to ensure their contractors in China are really following safety regulations.
If Mattel and the other toy companies won’t do it, then the government should. And if the government won’t, then consumers should by boycotting their products.