Toymakers Play Games With Regulations

Call for more safety testing a cynical move, Slate critic contends
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2007 12:01 PM CDT
Three-year-old Allison Banda plays with a car containing a Polly Pockets doll while other items in the collection sit nearby on a table in the living room of the home of the little girl's family in the...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The toy industry’s new safety-testing push may succeed in rebuilding trust, but it’s likely to leave dangerous ways unchecked—and the big guys know it, argues Slate’s E. Marla Felcher. The current scandals are matters of enforcement, not of the regulations themselves, but the new call for third-party testing looks, superficially, like a step forward.

"Why is the toy industry now calling for third-party testing?" Felcher asks. "The short answer is Christmas." Parents may be impressed with the industry's concern; indeed, testing could hasten discovery of hidden dangers. But the proposed system wouldn’t check for design flaws—the culprit in 76% of recalls—and the big companies would know how to skirt it anyway.