Now that the word is out, Toys R Us is going green, it’s time perhaps to look a little harder at exactly what is being offered to parents looking for more safer, healthier toys for their children. After last year’s, lead paint/ phthalate/magnet scares, it’s no wonder Toys R Us is announcing a whole new line of eco friendly toys available in stores in time for Earth Day, April 22, 2008
But…they’re still made in China.
OK – that’s not completely true. Toys R Us plans to offer a collection of natural and organic toys in three categories:
Organic Cotton Dolls priced at $14.99, manufactured in Egypt
Natural Wooden toys including trucks, trains and blocks, ranging in price from – $9.99 – 14.99 but, made in China
Natural Cotton Plush Animals, including a bear, a lamb and a monkey, also made in China
I spoke to a company representative yesterday, who filled me in on manufacturing locations for their new line which, to my surprise, included that what has become a catch phrase with parents, “Made in China”. Which makes me wonder a bit what exactly Toys R Us is trying to accomplish?
I guess the answer is, Toys R Us is jumping on the environmentally friendly – “good for the planet” bandwagon while ignoring (OK that’s a bit harsh) – the “good for the child” part. So, what’s more important? What are parents’ primary concerns, health and safety or saving the planet?
And…let’s not even go there on the use of the word, “natural”. More or less unregulated, any company, with a semi clear conscious can use the term, natural to describe their product, as long as it is made primarily of natural materials.
So, until additional information is available, I’m going to be a bit skeptical. I’m hoping the folks at Toys R Us are going to send some samples over to Toy Tips, the fanatically independent testing group, for analysis, as well as to our friends at Consumer Reports.
While certainly not all products made in China are unsafe and toys labeled natural often are, parental perceptions may play a big part in how successful these new toys are. Transparency will rule the day.