Thursday, May 13, 2010

Safety First

Many of you probably don't know this, but a couple years ago there was a problem with stores selling toys with harmful chemicals in them, notably lead and phthalates.  When the government got wind of this, they put forth stringent guidelines for toymakers to comply with.  Initially, all manufacturers of toys for children under the age of 12 were to submit all of their separate kinds of toys to laboratory testing and certification that they were free of harmful chemicals.  Now, for the big toy manufacturers, to send in a toy for testing for $400 is no big deal...they will recoup that in just a month's sales.  But not so the small, hobby toy maker.  There was great outcry that this legislation would put the small home-business toy makers out of business. 

Well, there were those who said that it didn't apply to the hobbyist, and those who said it did, both sides supposedly knowledgeable.  So, what does the home-business, soft-sculpture dollmaker do?  There was talk that as long as the toymaker had chemical-free certifications on every substance used in the making of the toy, it would be acceptable.

I decided to comply in this you have any idea how many different materials goes into the making of the dolls?  I made a list, got the manufacturer websites off of packaging, and began to send emails.  Some of the companies didn't even know what I was talking about, but on further investigation, realized this was in their best interest as well, had their materials tested, and sent me certification.  It took me about 3 months of daily correspondence, but I now have a file folder marked "Materials Certification" that has certifications for every single item I use in my dolls.

Why did I do this?  Well, after raising 6 children and having 7 grandchildren, I feel that safety in children's things is non-negotiable.  I make sure my dolls (not counting their clothing) are made so that nothing will come off.  They are double sewed with doubled thread.  I make sure all knots are buried within the material. They are made so that they can be machine washed and dried (just pin them into a pillow case) so that they can remain sanitary.  And now, I can say with confidence that they are free of lead and phthalates (smile....I knew they were before, but now I have PAPER!!)

So, whether it's my dolls, someone else's, or something from the store, know that you have the right to ask to see certification if you suspect something might not be safe.  If you don't protect your children, who will?

Happy dolling,


To see my dolls in my store:

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