The bottom dropped out of my stomach. Lead paint was found on some Thomas & Friends wooden trains and accessories, I read on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website yesterday after a friend forwarded me an e-mail about the recall.
Like just about any house that’s home to a 3-year-old boy, we have Thomas the Tank Engine and tons of his friends. We went to Day Out With Thomas when the event was held last month near my mom in upstate New York. He has sneakers, T-shirts, DVDs, trains, tracks, books, even pajamas and an alarm clock.
To be sure, the lead poisoning hazard affects a relatively small number of the wooden railway pieces.
But that’s not the point.
Even though I bought most of the pieces on sale Ã¢â‚¬â€ for 30, 40, even 50 percent off the regular prices Ã¢â‚¬â€ or they were gifts, these are not cheap items at full retail. Who doesn’t know that lead paint is a hazard?
It ticks me off that the company that licenses Thomas and, I would wager, makes a pretty penny off it puts just an itty-bitty box on the lower right-hand corner of its home page about the recall.
It ticks me off that it lays the blame on the company that licenses from the company that licenses from the company.
My husband went on a jihad against Thomas this morning, removing all traces of Thomas from view. They’re in a box in the attic right now (with the lead-painted pieces in a separate plastic baggie) until we calm down and decide if we really want to rid our house of Thomas.
Our son has enjoyed the trains a great deal. He loves putting tracks together and the process of doing this has helped him with his coordination and spatial relationships.
But you know what? This morning, he was engrossed in playing with MegaBloks (kinda like Legos). When he does ask to watch something on TV, he generally asks for Curious George or Sesame Street or Buzz Lightyear.
Did he notice the Thomas items were missing? Not yet.
He still might and we, his parents, might still climb down off the ledge and relent, just keeping back the recalled items.
This is the thing, though: It’s about trust. We trusted that Learning Curve and HIT Entertainment (the company whose name is on the toys and the company that licenses Thomas, respectively) wouldn’t put something into our children’s hands that could poison them.
But they did. Why should we trust that six months from now other items won’t be recalled for a similar or a totally different reason?
Are we overreacting? Probably.
But I’d rather err on the side of caution Ã¢â‚¬â€ it’s not as if there aren’t a zillion other toys out there my son can fall in love with (Lightning McQueen & Curious George are more popular than Thomas already in our house. Yeah, yeah, I know, crass commercialism, whatever.).
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