News of the toxic trouble with Thomas The Train spread fast this week to include millions and millions of lead-laced toys manufactured in China and marketed by Mattel and other purveyors of so-called fun to the nation's innocent young. The realization that something is terribly wrong with the lack of oversight in the way many of the nation's toys are manufactured is dawning on us grown-ups. Parents are left to deal with two nightmares: poisonous paint in their kid's mouth...and titanic tears when taking away a toddler's favorite toy. Mean mommy!
So, time to restock the toy box with safer stuff. Here's a way that helps American manufacturers and local specialty retailers at the very same time.
Buy USA-made toys.
Yup, they're still out there...purveyors of quality toys that often harken back to a simpler, less branded childhood. Louisville Slugger baseball bats. Teddy bears from Vermont. Wooden easels from Minnesota. Be prepared to pay more for these toys. (Maybe there's a reason those other toys are so cheap.) And you'll have to seek them out online and at specialty toy stores in your local community. But on the other hand, your kid will be able to put them in their mouth over time without suffering an irreversible IQ drop.
Even choosing US-made toys, there's no panacea. Parents will still have to monitor their kids' toys, and any toy can be a danger. But at least with these toys, the chance that they've been dipped in poison paint by a faceless manufacturing subcontractor thousands of miles away is nil.
Know of another USA-made toy manufacturer? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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