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September 06, 2007

Lead Paint Lunacy

GeotraxDid you hear about the latest toy recall?  This time, it's GeoTrax trains and Barbie dog houses.  Ah, a little something for everyone. It's been quite a summer of lead paint scares, hasn't it?  Every couple weeks, the Consumer Product Safety Commission adds new dangers to its list; Mattel, Fisher-Price, or a lesser-known toy company issues a press release; and parents everywhere scurry to check the playroom for the dangerous toys.  A Thomas the Train Engine here, a Sarge jeep there, Polly Pockets over here; it sure adds up.

Pretty soon, we'll all be playing with wooden toys and sticks again.

Hey, that wouldn't be so bad, actually.  Simple toys that can be used several ways spark creativity and can challenge little minds more than the play-with-this-like-in-the-movie kind.

We're so lucky, you know, to be living in a country and a time of such affluence.  We weed out these "dangerous" toys, and, most of the time, our kids never know they're missing.  After all, every kids' train set has at least two engines these days, and rare is the little child with only one toy jeep, truck, or car.  So we're lucky.  Very lucky.

As I sit here today, watching my child drift off to sleep in a room with dozens of matchbox cars and not one but TWO train engines, I realize just how lucky we are.

But I weep for the children in China and third-world countries that are making these little toys, covered in lead paint or no, and for the children around the globe who have more serious things to think about than a missing James (the red engine, for those of you not in the throes of a Thomas obsession).  The hungry babies in Africa.  The children fleeing violence in Darfur.  The little ones growing up fast, too fast, in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places that are too violent and loud for a quiet game of toy trains.

So keep those recalls coming, CPSC, and let us all know what toy to pull from our child's hands next. We'll do it.  We want to keep our children safe.

I just wish that I could do something to keep the little children across the world safe too.

Sam also blogs at Toddler Planet and Review Planet.  But her world revolves around her little boys.

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