Q&A with Jill #1- What’s Up with Toys Made in China?

Hey everyone, welcome back to my channel Let's talk toys

So, forgive my kind of bad hair day this morning, I actually just dropped my daughter off for her first day of Kindergarten There were a few mommy tears and a lot of daddy tears– my husband is a stay at home dad and so it was kind of a big day for both of us, but she's all set at Kindergarten So I don't actually have a toy review for you this morning Instead, I actually want to talk to you about a question I get a lot in the store and what I feel is kind of one of those dark, apprehensive clouds hanging over parenthood these days that kind of makes you feel guilty for buying certain things for your kids, but you're not quite sure whyand that's toys made in China So, let's get going Umm, I want to take you on a little bit of a time capsule back to 2007, this was two years after I started working for Tom's Toys in Beverly Hills and I was working on the sales floor when we got a fax for a product recall now we would get faxes for product recalls from time to time usually because of a choking hazard issue or something broke easier than expected, but this was a little bit different, this was actually for James the Train from the Thomas Wooden Railway set, I don't know if you are familiar with those products, a little blue train, goes around on wooden tracks, umm they're a lot of fun, wooden trains are great for young kids, but anyway so we got a product recall because the paint on this James the Train had well over the legal limit for lead Now let me talk to you a little bit about lead

Lead as many of you may know, lead is a naturally occurring heavy metal that if ingested or absorbed in small amounts over long periods of time can cause serious health hazards or developmental delays And this is especially true for children under 6 years old So we've known about lead poisoning on the record for a long, long time but it has really only come into focus as a real health hazard pretty recently in history And it was actually commonly used in things like house paint or children's toys until it was outlawed from manufacture in those products in the US in 1978 So if we were outlawed from having lead in our paint in 1978, why were we having product recalls in 2007? Because of underregulated overseas manufacturing and surprisingly lax toy safety standards

What had happened was a factory in China had substituted paint from an approved supplier with paint from an unapproved, much cheaper supplier and what the factory and the manufacturer of these trains didn't know was that the unapproved paint was chock full of lead Really, really scary stuff And actually that had happened with quite a few factories in China so we started getting product recalls, more and more of them, for different products not just from that line but from other lines like Mattel as well and that was super scary We started reaching out to all of our manufacturers to see what we could do to make sure that the products we were carrying in our store were safe And I have to say I was actually really pleased with all of our manufacturers at that time, most of them got right on the ball, started getting us testing sheets so we could have them on file for customers in the store

So if you're looking at this and you're going how can I be sure that the products and toys that I give my child today in 2018 are safe, have things gotten better over time? So the short answer is– yes In 2008, pretty much as a direct result of all these product recalls, the US passed the Consumer Protection Safety Act which mandated not only that there were decreased levels of lead and some other substances in kids toys but also that each toy coming into the US had to have a third party independent testing certification Now when I started researching for this little video I was actually amazed at how lax the safety standards for toys were prior to 2007 Testing was voluntary and could be conducted by the manufacturers in-house without any third party oversight and so the CPSA really put into place a lot of regulations and stipulations that should have been put on toy manufacturing a long, long time ago So how can you be totally sure? Even though I haven't gotten another lead recall on my desk since 2007, when I was doing research for this episode I found that there have been a number of small recalls for lead paint issues over a number of manufacturers and manufacturing countries

So how can be sure? 80% of all toys worldwide were made in China last year So is there a difference between all of those toys? Are some toys made in China better than others? Yes My best advice is even though you can't be 100% sure, you can never be 100% sure of anything in life, is to know your brands So I would recommend looking at small brands from known brand names that produce pretty unique toys And the best way to look at this is to go to their website or just reach out to the manufacturer directly and ask about their manufacturing process

A lot of manufacturers were testing their toys even prior to the 2008 regulations and many concientious brands have on their website their testing information their testing certificates available to you to take a look at right there and then as well as details on their manufacturing and testing processes So to sum up, lead testing and toy safety requirements have gotten a lot better over the last ten years and, not only that, but all toys must be tested before they enter the US and those testing certificates have to be made available to the public I would argue that a toy made today is significantly safer than a toy made pre-2008 At the same time, nothing is 100% guaranteed and I would recommend researching your brands carefully before buying them for your children if you're still concerned about toys made in China and additionally keep close eye out on the Consumer Product Safety Commission recall list for all toys Shady manufacturing is not just limited to one company or one country of manufacture

Again, thank you so much for watching, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to me, my name is Jill and I'm the Vice President of Tom's Toys I've been in the toy industry with this company for 13 years and I am passionate about toys, toy research, and anything toy related I have two kids of my own and I am happy to answer any of your questions or toy related concerns, I try to be as non-biased or judgemental as possible So please reach out to me on any of my social media sites and thanks for following along Have a great day and keep playing!


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