Coming soon to a newspaper near you: self-congratulatory advertisements from toy maker Hasbro (NYSE: HAS ) highlighting that it has not suffered any recalls related to toys tainted by lead.
We'll have to see if it includes the fact that it had to recall about 1 million Easy-Bake Ovens because of kids' hands getting caught in the opening, which results in entrapment or burns.
Without question toy recalls have been the hot topic for parents this year, particularly as we approach the holiday shopping season. We know the drill here: Mattel (NYSE: MAT ) has had a handful of recalls totaling more than 20 million toys related to lead and choking hazards; RC2 (Nasdaq: RCRC ) seemed to kick off the recall conga line back in June with its Thomas and Friends recall. A number of privately held companies have recalled toys and trinkets that are infused with lead as well.
In this tough retail environment, Hasbro is looking for a way to separate itself from the crowd. Good enough. With tens of millions of toys recalled as a result of high lead content, the Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation has a right to be proud that it has yet to suffer from such an incident.
Yet it's self-serving guff to point out only the lead-free issue and ignore other recalls. Is a lead danger any worse than a suffocation hazard (Hasbro's Playskool Team Talkin' Tool Bench), a choking and laceration hazard (Playskool Sesame Street Busy Poppin' Pals), or facial and eye injuries (Galoob Sky Dancers)?
You can go to Hasbro's own website and see all the toys it's had to recall because of various dangers and hazards to kids playing with them.
In reality, there's too much fuss about the dangers of toys today. Sure, parents are right to be concerned about lead, but they're associating all the danger with Chinese-made toys. Consider that some 80% of all toys sold in the U.S. are manufactured in China and only a small portion of those are considered hazardous. The majority of the toys you buy, regardless of manufacturer, will probably be from China -- and they will be safe.
Hasbro hasn't detailed exactly what the ads will say. They will look like a letter to consumers and say that people can "feel good" about buying Hasbro toys.
With the testing procedures the toy makers have put in place, coupled with the backup testing retailers like Disney (NYSE: DIS ) and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) have instituted, parents shopping this December can feel good about all the toys they're buying.
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