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Perils of Play: Differentiating Harmful vs. Helpful Toys
From:
Richard Gottlieb -- Toy Industry Expert Richard Gottlieb -- Toy Industry Expert
New York , NY
Monday, March 22, 2010

 
03.22.2010 – In our quest to stamp out every ounce of potential danger in toys, are we unintentionally hurting our children's future?

Internationally-known toy industry expert, author and commentator Richard Gottlieb says that consumers should ask lawmakers to do some balancing when considering what is and is not dangerous. "Does society benefit as a whole from a toy? If it does, then we may decide that a small amount of danger is outweighed by the benefit to the many. And for those few toys, parents must do their job of making sure they are played with properly," says Gottlieb.

Gottlieb suggests that the government's zeal to regulate toys may keep children from learning important developmental lessons. "Blocks teach us how to build. Magnets teach us about physics. Monopoly teaches us about economics. Arguing about the rules of any game teaches us about law. Are we depriving children of essential play experiences because of fear?"

Recent regulatory actions in Europe are leading to concerns that any toy that could be considered even a potential safety hazard—even though the package carries appropriate age grading and warnings—would carry a legal liability.

"No retailer wants to carry a product that could result in litigation so such concerns, for all extents and purposes, would lead to a defacto banning of the toy," says Gottlieb. "It's something that bears watching as what happens in Europe can eventually have an impact in the U.S., particularly in light of the quest for global safety standards."

And while lead and dangerous chemicals must be kept out of the toy supply and products should be appropriately age graded, Gottlieb notes that consumers should differentiate between toys that are innately dangerous and those that can be abused in a dangerous way. "In the case of the former, I think that's the toy industry's job. In the case of the latter, that calls for parental policing."

For more on 'dangerous toys,' see Richard's blog posts at www.playthings.com or visit his web site at wwww.richardgottliebassoc.com.

Contact: Toni Antonetti, PR Chicago, 847-949-0097 847-949-0097, toni@prchicago.com
 
Richard Gottlieb
President
Richard Gottlieb and Associates, LLC
New York, NY