Toy Safety – How we handled a particular situation

When Sarah was a little over a year old, my mother and father-in-law gave her this cute little toy.  It was one of those toys that’s supposed to be fun, yet encourage learning.  With this particular toy, you were supposed to push down a huge button on the top of the toy and it would then make things inside the toy move around and make noise.  The only problem was that the button that you pushed down was supposed to come back up slowly, but it didn’t.  After you pushed it down, it popped right back up. 

Now what’s wrong with a popping up button?  When Chris and I played with the toy, we enjoyed it well enough and didn’t think much about the button.  We did it several times and showed Sarah how to push it down and watch the things inside move.  Then, she tried it.  Well, imagine you’re a one year old with your little face as close to the toy as you can possibly get it.  Sarah pushed the button down and it immediately popped back up and busted her little lip.

Rather than accusing my mother and father-in-law of purchasing a defective toy, calling the retailer to complain, or calling my attorney to sue someone, I simply called the toy manufacturer.  I politely explained what was wrong with the toy and how it was a neat toy, but since it was designed for children ages 12-18 months, they might want to rethink the popping up button thing.  We were on the phone for five or ten minutes and it seemed that the person I was talking with was really taking my comments seriously.  After a long conversation in which I thought they were taking notes, they proceeded to apologize for the inconvenience to my family.  I told them it was no big deal, but that I thought they would want to know about the likelihood that this toy might harm the children it was intended to entertain.

I didn’t think much about the incident, especially since I put the toy away.  We tried to play with it a couple more times, but it was obvious that Sarah was going to have a bloody lip every time she played with it so I just put it away.  Then, a couple of weeks later, I received a letter in the mail from the company that made it.  The letter contained an apology for the incident as well as some sort of postage thing that covered the cost of returning the product.  They asked me to box it up and take it to the post office and this postage sticker would do the rest.  It did.  They assured me that I would be reimbursed for the inconvenience.

During the couple of weeks after that, we received gifts in the mail every other day or so!  It was so funny.  I never expected this to happen, but after the second or third gift, Sarah actually started looking for the mailman.  I don’t remember all the toys she received, but there were about five different packages.

All of that was handled without a single attorney, lawsuit, or change of regulation.  I realize some “unsafe” products have resulted in much more than a busted lip, but creating a law requiring government approval of everything a child comes into contact with is certainly NOT going to prevent injuries from happening.  At the rate we’re going, we won’t have to worry about this at all because all the children are going to be homeless like their parents and no one will have any money to buy toys, diapers, clothing or other products after February 10 anyway!  It’s bad enough that we seem to be having an economic depression, but now the government is killing the American dream.  If this law is not amended, literally thousands of individuals will be put out of business on February 10. 


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