Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Terrors of Buying Baby Toys

I love gifts. They bring to mind the giver. A beautiful vase my husband and I received for our wedding makes me think of my husband's wonderful, funny, loving aunt. Our Irish made candlesticks make me think of my sister-in-law. 

Therefore, I try to put thought into the gifts we give. I, too, would love the recipients to think of us.

But with great gifts come great responsibility (thank you, Spider-Man). Even beyond the sentiment behind the gift.

Ever since it came to light that China has used lead paint, carcinogenic metals, and who knows what else in its manufactured goods, I make a point of checking the manufacturing country for products I buy. This includes travel mugs, dog food/treats, and, now, baby toys.

What I don't want our gift to be!
(Image by Kreld on
I have a new nephew who lives across the country. Yes, the same sister-in-law who gave us those thoughtful candlesticks is his mom.

In the past, I simply would have logged on to amazon, searched on bestselling baby toys, picked one that I thought was cool or fun or got great reviews, and had it shipped directly to my sister-in-law.

Today, however, there is research to be done.

First, I type in "baby toys made in the USA." This yields some toys with "Made in the USA" listed in Product Details. It also, to my distress, nets toys with no country listed.

I then dig deeper - look at the customer reviews - and find alarming comments such as, "cheaply made in China. Shame on you!" or "contacted manufacturer to find out if product was made with plastics containing BPA but received no response" or "parts came off in baby's mouth."


So I decide to skip the toys and search on "baby cloth books." My son has two that I have kept because I loved them so much. To my horror, comments include headlines with "Safety Concern" and a description: "my a chewer and the color from the beetle wings have faded making me wonder if he is ingesting the paint??? This concerns me greatly since another book by this company has been recalled due to possible problems with lead content."

Seriously? Isn't the thing supposed to be made of cloth?

I haven't even met my nephew yet. There's no way I want to cause his demise. Or worse, brain damage or loss of IQ. I could just imagine his parents' ire. All directed at me and our poisonous gift.

At this point, since he is already out of the womb, it's too late to learn a craft like knitting so I can whip out a handmade gift.

So now I punt. A gift card. Safe. Generic. Forgettable. But this doesn't mean I love my nephew any less, or have put any less thought into this gift. Rather, I think it demonstrates how much I already care for him.

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