The latest round of recalls of almost 19 million toys by Mattel this last week adds to the ever growing number of lead tainted toys or parts that kids can choke on. Some expert advice from an article in the Austin American Statesman today suggested that this was a good opportunity to talk to our kids about these issues instead of just hiding their favorite toy and tossing it out with the trash when they are not looking (don't throw away the lead ones, though). If the kids are old enough you can explain to them that the toy company screwed up and the toys could make them sick, but a replacement will be sent soon and they will have their favorite toy again. With younger children you can bluntly say, "Sorry, kid. This toy will make you sick. It has to go. Say bye-bye!"
That's more like it for me. I looked all through our kid's stuff hoping I would find at least one toy that I could make an example of. No luck. I was really wanting to find one of these lead-base painted pieces of junk so I could have this conversation with my children:
"Hey buddy. You know this Sarge car we bought you? Well, the Chinese cut some costs on materials and painted the little toy car with poison. You didn't lick on this or anything when I wasn't looking, did you?"
"Umm, I don't think so, Daddy."
"What about your little sister?'
"Nope, not that I know of."
"Good, now follow me."
"Where are we going? Why do you have a bat, that aluminum foil, and duct tape?"
"Well, before I mail this car back to the toy company I'm going to wrap it in foil, tape it up, and smash it to pieces with this bat."
"Cool! Can I take a swing at it?"
"Sure you can, son (patting him on the head). You can have first crack at it."
The child psychologist in the article was right. This would have been a great opportunity for a learning experience. Since we don't have any of the recalled toys - yet - I'll have to wait for the next recall to maybe teach my kids how to deal with poisoned junk from China.