August 18, 2007

The Big Overreaction '07

Confession time. I did not toss out any toys yet. I did box up and put away quite a lot, and here's the honest truth: I am using this big toy recall as motivation to just clean up all the excess... and we have a whole lot of excess.

I know- I could hear the shrieks of anxiety through my computer from yesterday's post. I didn't mean to cause any mass confusion or anything!

First of all, if you have toys that were listed as recalled, I definitely advise that you do according to what the manufacturer suggests- take those offending toys away! But, as for the rest of the toys made in China (hello, that would be pretty much all our toys) use your best judgment.

And if you are throwing anything out, please be as "green" as possible and wise about how you are going about things...

I know my kids and I know that they play with probably 3 or 4 types of toys out of the gazillion trillion they have in the playroom. This is unnecessary and makes my tummy ache. What are we teaching them? In this area, toy recall or not, I had to make a change.

The playroom, by the way, is also where my computer is.
This is where all the magic happens, my dear blog friends. And by clearing out all the excess, I can actually breathe better in here.

I am very concerned about the existing toys we have that are China-made, but I also do not want to traumatize my children by taking away all their favorite things. That might be worse than lead poisoning.

I'm taking some time to really think about what I want to do next.
I do think I may get some lead testing kits for some of the toys my boys still want to play with. You can purchase them at most any hardware store, I'm told, and also a good friend of mine sent me this helpful link with the best priced lead kits I've seen online.

I plan to make better choices regarding all toy purchases in the future, and am having talks with family. We're already discussing Christmas and making some really good plans. I'll be gathering my thoughts about ways to have a home-made Christmas and some good ideas for frugal shopping in general.

Maybe I'll set a date for everyone to link up and participate, so start thinking. I know it's only August, but Walgreens has Halloween stuff out already. It's never too early to start thinking about Christmas- especially if you're going to be making stuff. Oh, and aside from knitting, I'm not crafty, so all the ideas I'll have will be for everyone and will require no skills, really.

Did I overreact to the toy recalls? I don't think so. I have found the blog Not Made In China very helpful at this time- they are staying very up to date with everything and even have lists of toys made in the USA.

I really do hope that parents will see this as a wake up call. Time to read the labels and stay informed, people! The only way to make a positive change is to do something about it... and that's what I'm intending to do.


  1. I don't think you overreacted at all! Yesterday I collected all the toys in the house that were made in China and put them in the garage. When it comes to our babies, we will do anything humanly possible to protect them! That's why I love reading your blogs!!
    Have a great weekend!
    - Audrey
    Pinks & Blues Girls

  2. i am right there w/ ya. i bagged up several toys, but decided against gathering up ALL of the ones that were made in china, because we'd literally have next to nothing left. since ava seemed enthused about the idea of packing up some things to give away or sell, i went with it. i'm always happy to clear out some of the clutter. :)
    and i'm going to be more mindful with toy purchases in the future too. i'm trying to stick with natural toys whenever possible.

    i'm hoping that the big guns like fisher price and mattel will see a loss in revenue because of all of these recalls and i hope it will push them to be more careful with safety in the future. i also hope this will give the smaller, greener companies more business. :)

  3. I have some toy sites listed on my blog. They are amazing toys...hand crafted and such. They are a little more expensive but great quality. I recomend A Toy Garden. There are so many great toy 'stores' on the internet.
    ..Just an idea for christmas :)

    proud to be country

  4. Oh!! and there is even a directory for non-toxic toys!!

  5. My husband and I had a long conversation about this very topic this morning, actually. I think all of the massive toy recalls are going to lead to us being a lot more careful and concious of our toy buying habits...
    Did you hear that the head of the factory in China committed suicide? It's just such an upsetting story.

  6. I confess..I probably went waaay overboard. I threw away almost all of the toys that were Made In China...leaving the necessities (toy guns, swords, trucks, etc..) My boys now have a very clean room. Ahhhh :)


  7. I think your reaction is very appropriate, at the very least I think we all need to go through our kids toys to see where they've come from. I went through X's downstairs stash yesterday and weeded out all the made in China stuff, from there we are freecycling/ebaying the things he doesn't play with/I can't stand -which mainly leaves ALL of his beloved trains and tractors. David brought home some lead test swabs yesterday and we'll be getting down to testing the rest. I think the biggest thing for us is in moving forward being more cautious of our toy purchases and screening the toys our parents buy for him a little better...

    After our China food issue, limiting our other purchases imported from there, just seems natural.

  8. I haven't done an extreme clean out yet, but that is simply because my husband has been working so much this week that I havent had time to speak with him about it.

    I dont want to do anything that massive without his input. I think it would really hurt our relationship for the short term, at least, to make such a huge choice on my needs to be agreed upon by both of us.

    However, I'm fairly certain that once we speak about what's going on, my concerns, and the alternitive sources for toys we'll both be on the same page.

    I just know if I came home once day and all my son's toys were in garbage bags outside I'd be upset I wasnt part of that choice.

    As far as your post I think you KNOW what is best for your family and as long as you all are on the same page then I see nothing wrong with it.

    I imagine it would be pretty upsetting to the boys, though. I can see their little point of view. I was thinking I'd do it slow.

    By friendlier toys and start exchanging them out that way it would ease them into it and hopefully they wouldnt even notice.


  9. I will be doing a big clean-out of our toys here. Simply because we have too much! (And we have too much of everything, and not just toys). I want to clean things out, get rid of this feeling of my house being cluttered all the time. All these recalls have simply motivated me to work on sooner and to get it done and over with. They have also made me think more about what I will be giving my children in the future.
    I already promised them they wouldn't have to get rid anything special, important or that was a favorite (well except for the ones specifically on the recall list) and they seem okay with that.
    We went through the movies the other day - I have a TON to take over to the local Goodwill, and next week we will probably have tripled the size of that pile!
    Anyway, maybe you can compromise with the kids - let them each pick out 3-5 things from the bags you already packed to keep. That way they don't have to get rid of all of them and you can be happy that you don't have too much excess?

  10. fyi...just saw a news piece on those test sticks-apparently they only work 60% of the time. jeesh...can we trust anything anymore?

    anyway, my son & i were playing with his little people today and i noticed that they're painted, and made in china...and i just decided to let it be for now. i can't be freaking out about this right now! it gets overwhelming. i agree that we need to just have son doesn't have TONS of toys, and he STILL has too much! i'm asking for college money for him for the next few holidays.

  11. And you know how I feel about toy clutter. YUCK!


  12. I've never been big on toy clutter and have always asked the kids to help clean out and give away toys. My children are a bit older and we don't have as many of those toys, now, that have been recalled so the cleaning of toys isn't a big deal for us. As far as gifting goes; there is a few books out on love languages and it does mean so much more to the children to give in their "language". Sometimes it means giving something they will wait on or time that will come later, but I have seen a true joy on my children's face both when they receive the initial and when it actually takes place and they continue to remember!! I do think this may help you with gifting, Grandparents are very receptive to this idea, it is worth a shot!! Your post the other day was right on track with how everyone felt and sometimes we have a "knee jerk" reaction and think later, but at least we don't totally go with it and at some point we can stop and think. First we need to remove and save and next we stop and figure. It is first removing what may be a problem, "better safe, then sorry"!! Don't be so hard on yourself, this happens.

  13. painting (haha - acrylic?) things is fun. I've been painting blocks for a bit now. Also, wooden cars and stuff... Like I mentioned last post, I have lots of ideas if you truly want them, just comment me your e-mail address.

  14. "The Big Overreaction '07"

    He he. :) Did you get some nasty mail or something? You didn't overreact. Besides, better to err on the side of crazy mama than have sick kids. We are heading back home today (if our plane ever stops being delayed) and we will be doing a big playroom clean up asap.

    See ya Tuesday! ;)

  15. I think I just read that China has about 30% of it's children with high levels of lead in their system. China doesn't regard lead as a danger so it would be wise to check all toys made in China for lead.

  16. Alternative idea -Instead of toys for Christmas, take the kids to another region that has a tobaggon run, child's museums or other fun stuff, and stay at a hotel there. Give each child their own disposable camera, or a framed picture of the event so they will remember their Christmas present. Other family members may be willing to contribute to that (gift cards for gas,, restaurants..) instead of giving toys, and may want to join in the outing. Linda f.

  17. I don't think you overreacted, I think you are trying to protect your kids and that is how you see fit to do it. There's nothing wrong with that.

  18. Great post, Steph. I'm right there with ya...

  19. I'm in! I just found a great old Martha Stewart magazine "home made Christmas" or something, and I'm going to be all ready when we do the idea swap :)

    Also, we did clean up a lot of china-toys away with the kids, and today we saw our friends and my 4-year-old is lecturing them "you should not buy anything made in China, and not to go eat at McDonalds, their food is bad for you and their toys might have poisons, they are made in China".

    I was like wow, I don't think I have talked to the KIDS that much about it, but me and Matt have been talking a lot... The people probably thought we had brain-washed our kids... Oh well.

  20. I went through and threw out all the toys made in China that had paint. I kept the stuffed animals, like you said EVERYTHING'S MADE IN CHINA! She'd have no toys!! We also got rid of SlowMo's toys made in China with paint...because I didn't want theBeast putting them in her mouth. We will from now on, only buy toys from specialty stores, and such, that aren't made in china!!!

  21. I had to buy a new shower curtain today & every single one of them that the store had was made in China! I wasn't really worried about lead, but just thinking of the conditions those people had to work in to make a piece of plastic for me to shower behind. They have so little concern for their own people, they're certainly not going to care about what they ship over here. We're not very popular over there. I hope everyone that is getting rid of potentially hazardous toys considers where they're taking them - don't just give them to Goodwill or something where some other child will chew on them next!

  22. This has all got me thinking too. I posted about it when the second recall came out.
    I have been making the move towards "natural" toys pretty much from the start. I don't buy any plastic stuff myself, but thanks to the grandparents DS has a pile of foreign made stuff for me to sort through.
    Here are my concerns:
    Why is China any worse than another outsource? What guarantee do we have that the standards are any better there (or even in the US)? I can't help but think about how CHEAP all of the plastic stuff is as well. You know that no one is making a fare wage to create these toys.
    I do trust smaller companies like Melissa and Doug. I feel that they have the ability to keep on top of testing and inspections. Overall, I'd rather have much less of higher quality toys than a bunch of plastic junk.

    Also, you make a good point about the vaccines. I feel that the toy recall is getting alot of press, but what about the household chemicals, bodycare products we slather on our kids, chemical additives that are standard in our foods?? Baby bottles and sippy cups that leach BPA?
    As parents, I think it is wise to look at the big picture and try to reduce our exposure to harmful substances across the board.
    It doesn't make sense to freak out about the toy recalls and then spray your kid down in Deet filled bugspray or feed them hormone filled cow's milk.

  23. I missed all this. I don't know what you're talking about, guess I need to read further. I have no clue how many made-in-China toys we might have, but the sheer excess is sickening. And I purge often. GAH!!


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