Just had to mention this good opinion piece in the New York Times that addresses the panic over the Chinese leaded toys:
Parents are in distress, but there may be an answer that is better than despair and less expensive than a wholesale conversion to an American-made inventory. It requires a leap of faith, a basic trust in our children�s rubbery and hungry minds. Might it not be possible, for a young child, anyway, to fend off her inevitable molding into a loyal consumerist, and to delay the acquisition of acute brand-recognition skills?
Maybe she doesn�t need a talking dump trunk or Barbie with the Malibu beach house. Let her flail on a saucepan with a wooden spoon. Give her paper and crayons. Let her play to her own narrative, not Dora the Explorer�s or SpongeBob�s.
And if kindly grandparents, uncles and aunts insist on bestowing the latest and shiniest processed toy, smile and be grateful � it�s the thought that counts � and put it out later with the recyclables: the warranty and instruction booklet with the paper, and the doll or car with the plastic. But save the cardboard box.
Personally, I think the final suggestions are a bit draconian. I don’t have a problem with a few toys of that sort. We did a quick inventory and found one Sesame Street toy, a remote control toy that makes sounds when you press buttons my dad bought her to use as a “cell phone”. It was not on the list of recalled toys so she’s still happily toting it around. I don’t have a problem with one or two toys like that, though they aren’t my favorites, she enjoys them, it’s their excess that gets to me.
I’ve seen kids come up with all kinds of scripts for Barbie and other brand toys that have nothing to do with the marketing. For me a huge part of that is limiting media exposure. If kids don’t see the ads and the cartoons that are really just extended ads, then the merchandising scripts can’t get in their heads in the first place.
via Sed Contra