With numerous recalls of beloved toys like Thomas trains and Polly Pockets, and increasing awareness of lax safety standards in production facilities overseas, parents everywhere are concerned about how to shop for safe gifts this season.
Here are five ideas to make safer holiday toy choices.
- Shop at small local toy stores where you know the owners and personally know they have a dedication to quality safe toys. Often, small shopkeepers will do the extra work for you to make sure the toys they sell meet the highest safety standards.
- Shop on-line retailers like PlanetHappyToys.com, where their mission is to find safe toys for kids.
- Shop at large national retailers which provide special resources for safer shopping. ToysRUs, for example, now makes available a country-of-origin list for all toys in its 842 U.S. stores. You have to ask for the list – they don’t advertise that it’s available. Another good option is The Right Start chain of stores. They only sell products tested according to ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) guidelines.
- Shop major brands that now have made extra strides in safety assurance. While RC2 (Thomas) and Mattel (PollyPocket) have had recent problems, it also means that they are doing everything they can for quality control so that they have no other consumer issues or recalls.
- Check out product approval seals like Good Housekeeping. While these seals programs don’t necessarily cover all product safety areas, and never can carry all products in the marketplace, you can count on another level of scrutiny on the toy you are considering bringing home to your child.
Have a good holiday.
– Paul Banas
Founder / Editor