Some might call me overzealous. But being able to trust the toys you are buying and knowing how and what they are made from is important to me.
In December, my son was taken to see Father Christmas. He had a wonderful experience and came away excitedly with his special gift directly from the big guy. He unwrapped it in eager anticipation to reveal a dinosaur egg, that soaked in water would eventually hatch and grow. My son thought this was super-exciting.
Giant egg now submerged in a massive stew pot, I turn to Google to find out more about this dinosaur that will grow - the box completely blank other than the usual 'Made in China' when it came to any details. I wanted to know what this toy was made from for good reason.
Whilst not everything made in China is bad, 47% of EU toy recalls were due to unsafe chemical risks and its more common than you would think. From baron found in slime, to illegal levels of phthalates in the plastic of dolls, even asbestos in children's make-up, crime-scene, modelling clay and crayon sets.
I'm therefore wary of any Chinese made toys without decent credentials! I first discover there is a pink unicorn version, which my son would actually have preferred, and wonder if my partner had just not selected this option when booking, or dinosaur toy was predetermined automatically for boys? Or the venue was offering both boys and girls the same dinosaur egg?
For many parents, any concern about toxicity would not even have registered in their mind and would likely accuse me of being an overzealous Mum. It has the CE mark, its being sold through reputable shops and online sites. It must be safe. But I guess, that's why I started Timeless Toys. So many toys ARE unsafe and find themselves in our homes, in the hands and mouths of our children. EU banned and unsafe chemical levels are found in toys more than any other product type. It's a big issue.
Dinosaur now hatched, my son gained great enjoyment and a lesson in patience waiting for it to do so. The water is now filthy, there are blobs of glue all over the dinosaur and its unpleasantly slimy to touch even after being washed. It isn't even self supporting to stand for playing. My son immediately looses interest once free of its shell.
"You can throw it away now" my partner tells me, having heard my concerns, about the quality and lacking information. But that's a whole other problematic issue right there, where quality is superseded by novelty, at the expense of play value and the planet.
For now, the dinosaur is left to shrink again by the side of the bath and thankfully the toys Father Christmas left under the tree, were much better choices.