The Toy Association Combats “Toy Hunting Season”
November 28, 2017 | The holiday season is always a magical time for families as they delight in new gifts and strengthen bonds through play. Unfortunately, certain NGO groups leverage this time of year to advance their own agendas and garner headlines with their lists of allegedly “unsafe toys.”
Armed with real facts about the safety of all toys sold in the U.S. and the more than 100 rigorous federal safety tests and standards in place to protect children at play, The Toy Association was front and center this November to combat erroneous claims made by W.A.T.C.H (World Against Toys Causing Harm) and U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group).
- Earlier this month, WA.T.C.H. released their list of “10 Most Dangerous Toys” that included a recalled product, non-toy items, and several products that are fully compliant with federal safety laws. W.A.T.C.H. continues to not test the toys in its report to check their safety; instead, their allegations are based on their misrepresentation or misunderstanding of the mandatory toy standards. Year after year, their allegations do not stand up to scrutiny when reviewed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Toy Association staff attended W.A.T.C.H.’s press conference in Boston, providing interviews and statements to numerous media outlets. In total, W.A.T.C.H. was covered in 1,693 news articles and broadcast segments; of those, The Toy Association was mentioned in 1,085 stories, providing audiences with accurate information on toy safety and a rebuttal to the group’s false and irresponsible claims. Outlets that mentioned The Toy Association included the Associated Press, Reuters, USA Today, World News Now, WBZ CBS Boston, NBC, and ABC, among many more. View a Boston 25 News segment (picked up by 34 outlets) here.
- Just before the Thanksgiving holiday on November 21, U.S. PIRG released its annual “Trouble in Toyland” report, holding press conferences in Washington, DC and New York City and a range of local events across the country. Many of the items named in the report were previously recalled and are no longer offered for sale; PIRG simply resorted to listing recalled toys because they couldn’t find safety violations among the toys currently on the market. Additionally, several items in PIRG’s report were not toys (such as hoverboards, dishes, balloons, etc.).
“U.S. PIRG has been repeatedly invited by The Toy Association to participate in the continual review of the ASTM F963 toy safety standard, but each time, they decline the invitation, demonstrating that they are more concerned with garnering headlines than learning about, and contributing to, toy safety,” says Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association. “On the other hand, the toy industry is committed to toy safety year around – this is well-proven by the fact that these groups are unable to find any real safety issues with the billions of compliant toys sold in our country.”
Toy Association staff was present at both the DC and New York City press conferences to provide reporters with statements and interviews. The Toy Association was included in 101 broadcast segments nationwide, including pieces aired on PIX 11, NY01, WABC, ABC7, NBC, VOA, NBC National News, CNBC, CBS News, and more. View a PIX 11 news segment here.
“It's vitally important to continually educate and remind parents about being wise consumers, especially in an e-commerce world, and to provide guidance on keeping their children safe at play,” adds Pasierb. “Education is a role groups like PIRG and W.A.T.C.H. could play each holiday season, absent the scare tactics and headlines. Rather, their reports do little of any real value – and they are also misnamed, given that they include a number of items that are not even toys.”
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to do their part to ensure safe play by heeding some important safety advice – including how to choose age-appropriate toys – at www.PlaySafe.org, the Association’s free resource for families. Members are also advised to continue reaching out to The Toy Association’s communications team should they receive any media questions about toy safety.