President’s Letter – April 17, 2012: Ounces and Pounds

When the recall crises of 2007-08 hit the toy industry, we were stunned to learn that many legislators and regulators at both the state and federal levels were unaware that toy safety standards had already been in place for many decades.  Some seemed to think that the toy industry was made up of big, unregulated corporations that had little regard for the safety of the children who played with their products.  Others were quick to take action that they believed was needed to fill a void in keeping kids safe.

Insiders know that robust safety standards were created by the toy industry more than 70 years ago and have been maintained with our leadership ever since.  Our companies are led by caring executives, most of whom have children of their own. Nothing is more important to the toy industry than the safety of children and the trust of their parents.

Throughout the year – from Sacramento to Washington, DC and in dozens of state capitals in between – TIA staff meet with legislators and regulators to deliver these positive messages about the industry.  We have come a long way in turning around many of those negative perceptions.  But we also recognize that the industry’s story is most effectively told by the people behind today’s playthings … these compelling, face-to-face interactions are the best way to convince the authorities of our dedication to children’s safety. 

TIA serves the industry by organizing and hosting events such as the annual Washington, DC Fly-In and California Toy Day.  It is crucially important for members of the toy industry to make the time to participate.  These visits help to educate legislators and prevent them from thinking they need to continually create new (duplicative or overlapping) measures to keep children safe.  These meetings also ensure that when new guidelines, regulations or laws must be developed, legislators will invite toy industry stakeholders to be a part of the conversation. 

As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I hope many of you will join us in Sacramento, April 18, and in Washington, May 16, to tell your story. 

Warm regards to all,

c. keithley

ckeithley@toyassociation.org