Yes, its not even Thanksgiving and I am writing a Christmas blog. I just felt the need to say that while I totally endorse Lizzie’s post the other day on alternative gifting (and recommend others read it and consider the many ways we can give in ways that honor the Creator and reduce the amount of “stuff” in our lives) I recognize that many people will buy toys, or give toys away at church toy drives, and receive toys from others.
In that vein it is important to know what is safe and what is not. Last August the House and Senate passed a bill and the president signed that set the first ever lead limit on children’s products at 100 parts per million and banned phthalates in children’s products. We supported these efforts and applaud the bipartisan efforts to protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society. But this legislation will not go into effect until February 2009. This leaves us with another Christmas season with toys that possibly contain unsafe lead limits harmful to mental development, and six types of phthalates that have been linked to disruption of children’s reproductive development and have been linked to cancers in men and women.
The good news is that there are two new resources to help parents learn what products are safe and what products are not. The Connecticut Public Interest Research Group just released their annual toy safety report “Trouble in Toyland.” The report is the 23rd annual survey of toy safety. This report provides safety guidelines for parents when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards.
The Michigan-based Ecology Center will also be releasing the HealthyToys.org website on December 3rd that is a database of over 1500 toys tested for toy safety for this season. Last year this site was a great resource for many concerned parents across the country.
There are many ways to give during the Christmas season and gifts are as old as the frankincense and myrrh brought by the wise men. Just take time to consider how we can honor the Creator, Creation, and the most vulnerable members of our society in the process.