Our home is filled with sweet, simple toys. Ninety percent of it is wood, and the rest is mostly silk or cotton or wool. Farm animals from Germany. Play food from Europe. A wooden play kitchen from Maine. Handmade Waldorf dolls. There is almost no plastic in sight, save a few garage sale games and a plastic animal or two for car trips.
Toy snobbery? Maybe. But we think of it as quality control.
When the toy recalls start flying each year, we just nod and don't have anything to send in (we have almost nothing made in China. Even our wooden toys are sweatshop-free).
This week, in a supposed effort to protect children from dangerous toys, a law was just quietly passed that will require rigorous testing of all toys being sold in the US – up to $4,000 per toy. Regardless of safety records, materials used, or production size. Goodbye, etsy. Goodbye, small producers. Goodbye amazing European wooden goodies. Wooden toy companies from (uber-safe) Europe are alreay pulling out of the US market (Selecta is already gone).
An analogy was made that if a parallel law was applied to the food industry it would put every small grower and every farmer's makert out of business and leave Dole and Monsanto thriving.
What can you do, you ask? Start by signing this petition.
There. That was easy.
Now visit the Handmade Toy Alliance and click their Senator and Representative finder buttons and shoot an email or two off. I just sent mine and it took literally three minutes.
Providing our kids with safe toys is important. We just need to be smart about how we approach that goal.