The W Family Chronicles

Christmas, toys, and paranoia.

Posted on: November 13, 2007

Yep, I’m paranoid about the toys out there right now.  Absolutely terrified that my kids will end up with a toy that makes them sick or kills them.  Not just lead poisoning, but the danger of magnets, toys that contain a substance that turns into a date rape drug, and other things.  As a mom it’s super scary and I feel like I now need to scrutinize everything that comes into our house.

Which leads me to Christmas.  If you’re looking for Christmas gifts for my boys or any other children, please consider buying fewer gifts that are of higher (and safer!) quality.  Many manufacturers and stores out there are promising that their toys are independently tested and we’ll be going out of our way to purchase from them.  Lots of toy companies don’t make toys in China at all.  You can get great, safe toys from many places now…you just have to do a little research.

For example, One Step Ahead is testing all of their toys.  Some of the Little Tikes toys are made in the US — just click on the large banner on the right side of their homepage for a list of US made toys.  I’ve liked Oompa Toys for quite a while now.  (The link goes to a page with a list of where their toys are made.)  There are many others, but those are just a few that I like.

I also stumbled across a blog called Not Made in China.  It has some excellent information.  I particularly liked the listings on the right side of the page, including the list of toys for different age groups and the list of brands you can trust.  That makes things a lot easier!

I have spoken to Santa Claus to get an idea of what he’ll be bringing us this year and it looks like art supplies are going to be good for J this year, as he’ll be receiving an easel.  It’s also likely that he would love to have some accessories and games for his v.smile system.  (You may want to check and see what he already has, though!)  In clothes, he wears a 5 slim in pants, a medium (5/6) shirt, and a size 10 shoe.  He’s outgrown his Crocs and I know he’d love to have some more.

C is harder.  He will be receiving a new “grow with me” style highchair that will allow him to sit at the table with us and will last a long time.   It’s a big gift and Santa hasn’t yet decided what else he’ll get.  It is really important to be careful with his gifts as he still puts things in his mouth frequently.  (In fact, I just found him with a battery that he dug out of my office trash!)  He’s currently wearing 12-18m clothing, but will probably soon be needing 18-24m.  He’s set for winter clothes but can definitely use some stuff for spring and summer.  He’s wearing a size 5 shoe right now and hasn’t yet gotten any Crocs…He loves his big brother’s so I know he’ll be wanting his own pair when it starts to get warm again!

They both love playing outside and we don’t have many outdoors toys, so anything like a playhouse or slide would be loved by both of them.  With such a big age difference between them, it can be hard to come up with something that works for both, though!  Though if J likes it, C will probably like it simply because he idolizes his big brother.  DVDs, books, board games, and clothes are usually good, safe choices.  Or even money for their college funds or piggy banks!

This is hard for me to do…I’ve alway been one of those people who thinks you should be grateful for any gift you receive.  And while I still feel the same way, I am also acutely aware that so much has changed since last Christmas.  My entire view of the toy industry is tainted and I just want to be sure that any toys we bring into our home are safe.  As it is, I’m planning to start going through their toys and tossing (I’m afraid to give them away in case any might be unsafe.) a lot of things that I am concerned about.  They have so many toys that I think they won’t be affected, but I truly hate to toss some of these things because they were initially picked out with such care.  Who knew that their safety would come into question a year or two later?  It’s maddening.

And lastly, by choosing things that we know to be safe, we’re voting with our wallets and that will hit the toy companies harder than anything else.  Maybe they’ll get the message and maybe not…but at least we’ll know that our kids are not being put at risk by toys that are not manufactured safely.

If you know of any other stores/brands with safe toys, post them in the comments.  Santa is still making his list… 😉

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W Family Players

D is the dad, the husband, and the breadwinner. All around nice guy and good at pretty much everything he does. It's disgusting, really. But makes him worth keeping around.

M is the mom, the wife, and the hopeless housekeeper. At least the kids' heads haven't fallen off yet. Beyond that, she sucks at the "stay at home" thing. Oh, and she's the blogger.

J is the big boy. Born October 11 2002, he is in kindergarten and loves it. Now 6 years old, and too smart for his own good. Talks a lot but extremely entertaining.

C is the little boy. Born June 26, 2006, he went through a lot in his first year but is doing just fine now. The only blond in the family, so his paternity is routinely questioned by rude strangers.

V is our baby girl. She is brand new and arrived in January 2009. So far everything is going well. We're thrilled to have added the final piece to our family puzzle. And yes, she WILL be the final piece!

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