Parents Are Up to Their Own Devices After Toy-Testing Group Shuts Down

This is a real thing:

A volunteer organization that for decades has given countless parents independent advice on which toys are the best for their children is closing its doors.

The Canadian Toy Testing Council says it will no longer operate, effective the end of June.

For decades, the council has issued an annual Toy Report, ranking playthings and books by age group for their durability, safety and ability to capture a child’s imagination.

The CTTC enlisted volunteer families each year to test hundreds of items, from traditional board games to electronic toys.

Under the program, children would take the toys into their homes for six to 12 weeks.

The toys were then rated based on safety, durability, design, function and play value.

Under financial pressure for years, the council’s board of directors voted last month to cease operations following an exhaustive, but vain, search for new sponsors.

First of all, small babies will play with wrapping paper and boxes. I’ve seen them do it. Save one’s money and buy some brightly-coloured wrapping paper for your infant next Christmas.

Secondly, kids mimic adults which is why one catches them playing with dad’s keys and mum’s shoes. Why give them toys that have bells and whistles but zero imagination?

Thirdly, it seems the Chinese won’t even buy the toys they make for North American kids:

When freelance writer Wang Jian shops for toys for her 5-year-old son, she’s happy to pay extra for Legos blocks and Japanese-brand train sets.

The reason, she and other parents say: Foreign brands enjoy a reputation for higher quality — a perception reinforced by the product scares of recent months.

“We pay close attention to the news about toy and food safety. If I find a problem with a certain brand, I will just stop using it for sure,” said Wang, who writes for film magazines.

China may be Santa’s global workshop, but when it comes to buying playthings for their own children, Chinese families who can afford it opt for foreign-brand toys — even if they are made in China.

Quality and safety issues are drawing more attention as incomes rise and upwardly mobile Chinese grow more health conscious. While virtually all toys on the market, whether foreign or domestic brands, are made in China, factories making foreign brands are assumed to abide by more rigorous standards to screen out lead paint and other harmful materials.

“I dare not buy cheap wooden toys or toys with paint,” said Lin Yan, a professor at Shanghai International Studies University, whose 7-year-old daughter tested for elevated levels of lead in her blood.

“I have a stupid standard: I buy her expensive toys in big department stores. I can only assume most of the expensive ones are foreign brands and are guaranteed to have better quality,” said Lin.

So what the hell are people getting for their kids anyway?


  • Petey

    By age 7 I had a creek, a five acre field, a barn with beams we could build hay forts in. Horses, a dog and a couple of cats. When I got older an air rifle, then a .22 to go hunting with friends with. Cycling down to the lake for afternoon swims. That wasn’t crazy long ago, and I have nieces and nephews growing up essentially the same way (plus facebook). And that’s right here in southern Ontario. Toys? Yeah, we had them. Definitely not what I remember in growing up, though.

    • FactsWillOut

      Toys make great targets for pellet guns.
      We used to make go-carts out of 2x4s, big nails and old lawn mower wheels, and run them down hills, steering with a piece of rope attached to the front 2×4/axle.
      Old junk, cap/spud guns, slingshots, home-made bow/arrow setups, those were the days…even my little sister liked it.

  • Ken

    Gave my little girl one of those kid size kitchen play sets one Christmas. She, and her brother played in the large box it was shipped in for the next 3 days.

  • Uncle_Waspy

    Poor kids today. So many of them are simultaneously overindulged in the material sense, and emotionally impoverished.

    Check out this YouTube video. (Guaranteed to make you chuckle even if you’ve had a hard day!) Baby laughing hysterically at paper being ripped…

    • FactsWillOut

      So cute.
      When my little sister was a baby, and I was 5-6, I used to do pratfalls for her to make her laugh, because her infant’s laughter was so beautiful.
      On a sadder note, she was 2 months premature, and had some heavy intestinal problems that led to her having to defecate through a hole in her belly. When the bags had to be changed, it hurt, and she would scream, and it drove me insane, at that age, I only understood that mom and dad were hurting her, and I would go into fighting mad violent fits trying to stop them, my mom wasn’t strong enough to handle my rage-fueled fits, and it was always dad who had to restrain me.

      • Uncle_Waspy

        That was a rough situation, Facts. Kids can’t always comprehend what’s going on.

        • FactsWillOut

          They tried to explain, but…I loved her from the moment she came home from the hospital, and even after their explanations, I could not permit them to hurt her so…she would scream, and I would just flip out, it cut straight through everything, and all I knew is that I must stop them from hurting her.
          My poor parents, as if it wasn’t enough to deal with what my little sister went through…
          I blame God, as it has to be someone’s fault, right?
          People are quite right to be God-fearing.

          • Maggat

            Did she get well?

          • FactsWillOut

            I now have two adorable nieces, as well.

          • Uncle_Waspy

            I don’t know the answer, Facts. “The rain falls on the just and unjust alike” seems very inadequate.

            It’s strange that you mention this now. I was at Sunnybrook Hospital (Toronto) until 2am this morning. My girlfriend and I were staying with her friend, a lady who was Stage 4 with complications upon complications. Lots of suffering. Complete Loss of dignity.
            (I was going to rant about everything that happened there….but we’ll save that for another day. BTW Cat, saw a nice elderly gentleman laying on a stretcher in the hallway from 3pm to 2am.)

            Why do terrible things happen to innocent people? We’ve struggled with that question from day one. Experiencing that suffering, or witnessing a loved one experiencing it would rock anyone’s faith. There are no easy answers.

          • FactsWillOut

            No answers, but facts:
            Anger needs a target. At the time, I targeted my parents as the cause.
            I’m still angry, but now know my parents are blameless.
            The fact that this angers me is a result of how God made me.
            So, has God tried to set Itself up as my enemy, or It trying to tell me something?
            My parents love my sister, and they did what they did to keep her alive, I just didn’t understand.
            I’m sure God loves me, and all of us, but I still don’t understand, and I am still very angry, but now about different things, like PC and Islam, and, while I now understand my parents doing what they had to do, is God doing this to us all out of a similar love?
            No easy answers indeed…unless…pray excuse me while I get drunk. 🙂

  • mauser 98

    Damn ,,,always wanted a job there