I Guess It's Time
Friday, November 09, 2007
Now hear this, ye family and friends who are wont to purchase plastic entertainment devices for Mama's children: No Made In China allowed. And no drum sets, but that's a long standing rule.

When you can't trust Dora, you know there's a problem. When you have to wait until after bedtime to inspect Thomas the Tank, it's bad. Now there are roofies in their toys too?


In addition to our own children's safety, I think it is immoral to buy toys that I know are made with lead paint, etc., from a land that I know doesn't have any concern for its workers. There's no OSHA over there. I shudder to think about the health effects on Chinese workers - and we're not just talking long hours or sweatshop conditions either. We're talking slowly poisoning their brains with heavy metals, making it less and less likely they will be able to protest or help themselves with every breath of lead dust they take.

I've broken it down in a three step program:
1. Prevent 2. Eliminate 3. Substitute

I'll be posting later on what we will actually do for step 3, since almost ALL toys are made in China. We are also having an allowance issue; I don't let them spend their whole allowance on food, but a trip to the dollar store was like a cruise to Shangri-La to them. No more DollarTree toys. What's a boy to spend his quarters on?

BTW, I contacted Hasbro directly to ask, and Tinkertoys and LiteBrites (two toys we don't have but were on my list for the year) are made in China as well. Matchbox cars are from Thailand or Malaysia, so hopefully that is some kind of reprieve!

There. Step 1 is taken care of - we will not bring any more new Made In China toys into the house.

Today, my dilemma is what to do with the mountain of toys that we already have.

Step 2: Eliminate
And we have toys. I worked as a Discovery Toy consultant for three years. Add that to 9 years of multiple birthdays and Christmases, and you get the idea. We never threw out Mr R's baby toys because there is always a baby in the house. And those babies acquired new toys. We have a mountain of toys.

It's time for a clean out. Most of the toys are in the play room, and thus centrally located (theoretically). I have already combed through and gotten rid of dinosaurs. I went ahead and secretly tossed Dora and pals when the girls were asleep, even though their particular playset was not recalled. I ditched the wooden blocks that were painted. Mostly, I've been quietly, without fanfare, picking up and tossing the toys that annoy me by crunching underfoot and/or used to tease someone.

It's easy to toss the toys that are still on the shelf, in their organizational bucket, and that are rarely played with. Now I am facing tossing bags full of toys.

So, I will prioritize, so as not to shock the children or my frugal heart.

Painted toys that say Made in China have got to go. This includes all Happy Meal toys. (Cry me a river.)

Rubberized plastic toys made in China are going as well. This will be heartbreaking, as my children have some very realistic large animals (they are about the size of a newborn baby) that my mother got them a few years ago from a teacher store. Mr R in particular loves his hyena. I might let that one slide... for a bit.

Painted blocks - go.

For now, hard plastic non-painted toys will stay. Army men and Marbleworks, rejoice! Stuffed animals will stay. Dress up clothes will stay.

It doesn't just stop at toys.

I already threw out Baby X's bibs. There is often lead in the vinyl lining - it makes the plastic more pliable. They were terrycloth backed with thin vinyl to make them waterproof. He's likely to gum the bib, so out they went. I'm kicking around the idea of tossing the boys' vinyl lunchboxes as well, but haven't acted because they are unlikely to teeth on them.

Yesterday I tossed my mixing bowls. Baby C dropped and broke my most fabulous Batter Bowl from Pampered Chef, which I used everyday. A couple of weeks later, I happened into a Tuesday Morning and found a cute set of mixing bowls in five graduated sizes, including the rare but useful Giants Live Here size. They were colorful, ceramic (I didn't want metal or plastic) and had pour spouts. Even better - $14.99 for all 5. However, the bowls get extremely hot in the microwave and they started chipping. In a word, they were cheap, even though they seemed high quality. When I turned the bowl over - yep! Made in China. Since I have no idea what is in the painted glaze, which was already compromised from the chips, and since I prepare my family's food in them, out they went too. I guess I'll stick to Pyrex until I get invited to a Pampered Chef party.

Items I'm uncertain about I'll slowly be contacting the manufacturers to see if they need to go or stay. I e-mailed the Lego Group this morning about Duplos and Bionicles.

Baby C's birthday is in two weeks, and then the Christmas marathon begins. We need to get rid of some toys anyway. Anybody know where Perler Beads come from? I've tossed the box.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 11/09/2007 09:09:00 AM | Permalink | |