The Rare Public Service Announcement

I’m not one generally for posting about the kinds of stuff you get in bi-weekly emails from your alarmist paranoid aunt or your college friend who doesn’t realize that no, Bill Gates will no send you $100 if you just forward this onto fifty friends.

But when I’ve just finished uploading a picture of my niece like this

only hours before reading that 26 Thomas Train toys were recalled for containing lead paint, I certainly feel obligated to spread the word. I’d also like to point out that the toy company is balking over refunding postage for parents returning the toys. Hey, we just make ’em. If your kid puts the thing in his mouth that’s his problem. Excellent way to do business. Bravo.

Now excuse me while I revert to my snotty, elitist affection for wooden toys, with a preference for those not outsourced to China.


Edited to add: As Katie kindly pointed out in the comments, the recalled toys do not include the blue train featured here. Although I still freaked thinking of this photo–guilt by association. Here’s a link to the photos of the actual recalled toys which are mostly red. (And thanks Katie.)


26 thoughts on “The Rare Public Service Announcement”

  1. Thought I was doing something good when we purchased a Thomas set of trains for PunditGirl when she was still a toddler. No sirree — she was going to have dolls AND trucks and trains. I guess the good news is she hasn’t played with them for years. Maybe I can toss the Barbies, too, by using the lead paint excuse?? 😉

  2. Oh yes, very scary, and I blogged about this last week when I found out about it. I had to take away 6 trains from my son. He’s had them for well over a year, of course they’ve been in his mouth, etc. How scary and horrible is that??

  3. P.S. In all fairness, Thomas trains are all made from wood. Probably why they’re so expensive. And EXCUSE ME – I thought they were going to pay us back for the postage it’ll cost to mail our items back? They have to! They screwed royally, not me!

  4. Not all Thomas trains are wood. Many are die-cast, especially the battery ones. All of our Thomas trains are die-cast…~Dawn~

  5. I’m glad I packed up the Thomas stuff (too many squabbles over how to arrange the tracks); the kids have been using the table for Legos.We have many of the recalled items in a bin somewhere. Scary.

  6. Oh, dear. My DOG was chewing on these trains because my 2 1/2 year-old son kept leaving them around the house. I thought she looked a little skinny lately, like she was sick, but she’s a greyhound, so it’s hard to tell…

  7. What kind of retarded company uses lead paint in any thing these days? Did they miss the memo 20 years ago, that is was harmful? Morons. Very cute baby with trains though. Very, very cute.I always wonder if the people who believe Bill Gates is sending them money are the people also waiting for Ed McMan to arrive at their house? Billionaires don’t share their money, this is how they stay billionaires.

  8. your photo is misleading. I had already checked out the toys that were recalled and seeing that photo brought a new round of anxiety and made me check again. perhaps if you really intend for your post to be a public service announcement you should include a link to the pics of the recalled toys? here it is:

  9. Yes, your photo is slightly misleading. It is only red and yellow trains that are being recalled. Also, they say that they will refund the cost of ground shipping in a separate check. They are also sending a free train of some sort as a consolation with the replacement.

  10. Geez, people above me, I didn’t think she was trying to mislead you or in cahoots with the Thomas the Train people. It was just a picture of an incredibly cute baby playing with a toy item she mentioned was recalled. And in all honesty, if the red and yellow ones are made with bad paint, do you want to take the chance with your babies and let them lick the blue ones?

  11. Corey, if you read the article I linked to it details very specifically how the company handled this all (i.e. poorly) and indeed is balking at refunding postage. When the pressure became great enough, they bowed to it. This is a children’s toy company! That could be hurting children! I find that behavior beyond reprehensible and I can’t defend their handling of this in the least. Starting with the fact that their toys weren’t tested for lead to begin with.

  12. You mean… Bill won’t be sending me that money? Naw! Yer just pullin’ my leg, you stinker, you! You had me goin’. That check will be here any week now!

  13. Ooh, though I’ve heard a rumor that there are others that will be recalled too. A friend called the manufacturer and they apparently told her to return all the trains with the serial numbers in question, some of which are not red. So, I’ll be interested to see if further recalls follow.

  14. Thank you for posting this. It’s been making the rounds, but I’m sure not everyone has seen it, which is really unfortunate.You added the clarification about which toys are recalled and you mentioned that they’re all red. That’s not actually true – there are some yellow ones and multicolored ones, too. (I’m not trying to be nitpicky – I just wouldn’t want anyone to skip the link simply because they don’t have any red ones.)

  15. I was actually thrilled that none of the approximately 1000 trains (okay he really doesn’t have that many) my oldest has were not part of the recall (his red James had the “WJ” in the serial number on the bottom). Just try explaining why you are taking James away from your 4 year old!

  16. What’s funny is that I have heard more about Thomas and his train recall than I have about most other recalls. I really haven’t paid too much attention to recalls of toys and gear. While there are definitely instances of major problems, many recalls don’t seem to be as necessary as they are made out to be. I check out each toy that my son uses before he touches it — and look for small parts and other safety concerns. Honestly, I feel that almost everything could potentially be an issue — but I watch as he plays. FWIW, I actually do love the handmade ones…and cherish anything not made of plastic.

  17. andamandamom – great point. You’re hearing more about this because 1.5 million of them are being recalled. That’s a whole lot of kids who own these things. But it’s true that the hazards are often not in proportion to the hysteria.

  18. I wish they’d recall the damn videos because they are so boring I worry I will actually CEASE TO LIVE if I have to sit through another one of them.But yes… I have a pile of red engines from the Island of Odors , sorry, SODOR, ready to … go … somewhere. In theory.Seriously, lead paint? Who the hell buys lead paint anymore?

  19. I saw that recall notice and went and sorted through Snuggle Bug’s trains. He only had one red set to get rid of.Adorable picture of your niece!

  20. I want to thank you for posting about this recall. My son has a few of the recalled train pieces and I had heard nothing about it.

  21. thanks for the mention, I feel kind of famous! I suspect it wouldn’t be the first time that someone mentioned the uncanny resemblance between your niece and thalia?

  22. As someone who lives in an old house I moved into when my oldest was 6 weeks old…I know more about lead than I ever wanted to. Happily, after we had the house tested and found out where the leady spots were we moved onto other fears. BUT, my point and I do have one is that unless you were sanding the toys and getting the dust into your kid they’re likely extremely fine. From everything I read, chips aren’t all that bad — they go through whole (mmm) and aren’t absorbed. It’s the sanding or when chips hang around and get ground into dirt that it’s really dangerous. All that said, our James engine is already off in the mail (and it belonged to a James, whose favorite color is red, so there was some trauma). Happily most of our other trains are from the first kid when they were made by a different company, as far as I can tell.

  23. what freaked me out this weekend? Barnes and Noble had one of the recalled trains on their “clearance” table and had no idea until I pulled it and gave it to the manager.

  24. Hello, I am with Viles and Beckman, LLC. We are actively investigating the current Thomas the Tank Engine/RC2 lead toys debacle. If any parents or toy owners would like their toys to have their lead levels check (in an independent lab in Massachusetts) please contact our firm. We will happily accept your toys, return them (if you so wish), and inform you of the results of the testing.Thank You,Chris P.For more information please email (any of the addresses below)

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