Do We Really Need to Panic Over the Fisher Price Recall?

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NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 30: Fisher Price toys are displayed September 30, 2010 in New York City. Fisher Price, one of the world's largest toy manufacturers, announced the recall for numerous toddler toys and baby items. The recall will affect millions of items, including high chairs and trikes, sold from 1997 through 2010 and was made after 24 injuries had been reported with the products. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

I woke up this morning to see a rash of Fisher-Price-related tweets in my primary Tweetdeck column, which, seeing as I follow some hundreds of parent bloggers, was maybe not way out of the ordinary, but still: it sparked my curiosity. So I followed a few links and LO AND BEHOLD, a recall.

You'll forgive me if I sigh loudly here. How many recalls of how many child-related products have we had in the last year? And how many warnings and red flags and demands for recalls have we had on top of those? I'm starting to lose count. And I'm starting to feel a little recall fatigue.

It's not that I don't worry about choking hazards and stabby parts and sick-making paint on the things that my children use and play with. On the contrary, I've been known to worry too much. I've done so much hand-wringing over my childrens' safety since they were born that it's a wonder that my fingers haven't fallen off. I have worried and worried and worried again. And honestly, it's getting a little exhausting, and I'm kind of wishing that I could just stop.

The Fisher-Price recall applies to some gazillion of their kids' products -- ride-on trikes and bouncy balls and any and all manner of plastic or rubber thingy that you might put your kids in or on, or that they might put themselves in or on -- and it covers a myriad of 'bad things' like a pretend ignition key on tricycles that sticks out and could, apparently, cause 'genital damage' (go ahead, shudder; I did) if a child were to land upon it with his or her legs akimbo, which is to say, the child could be hurt by the Fisher Price toy if the child had an accident with the Fisher Price toy. Which, really, is something that I might expect with any of my childrens' toys (did you know that if a toddler grabs his sister's Barbie and uses it as a projectile, Barbie's feet become weapons? I learned this the hard way.)

Again, I take seriously warnings about choking hazards and dangerous parts -- and I certainly take very, very seriously any warning that includes a reference to 'genital bleeding' -- and I do want to keep my children safe, and I do think that toy companies should make every effort to make their products as safe as possible, but is it too much to hope that every flaw in products aimed at children not inevitably lead to panic-inducing press releases proclaiming or demanding IMMEDIATE RECALL DANGER DANGER SEIZE THE TRICYCLES DO SOMETHING DAAAANGER? Maybe, you know, we could all start adopting the tone of oh, dear, this toy could be dangerous in certain situations; parents, please evaluate and do return the item if you're concerned? Or maybe toy-producers could just give this all a bit more thought in the first place so that items don't have to be recalled and parents scared out of their wits.

Or am I not taking this seriously enough? I do recognize that injuries from flawed toys can be serious, and we need to be alert to that, but when I see ALERT: FISHER PRICE RECALL, my heart begins to race and I think OH MY GOD THOSE TOYS WERE MADE WITH TOXIC PLASTICS SOAKED IN POISON and really, I would just like to get through at least a few weeks without being told by the media that my children are surrounded by DANGER REAL DANGER.

I just spend a week in Lesotho, Africa (yes, I KNOW. I can no longer conduct a conversation without mentioning this) and the children there had no concerns about terror tricycles because, 1) they had no tricycles, and b) they played with old metal bicycle tire frames and rocks and sticks and goats, all of which have been known to cause injury and none of which have ever been subjected to a recall. And although I am not proposing, and would never propose, that we adopt that as a safety standard, it did provide me with some (dreaded word) perspective. There are far, far greater things to worry about when it comes to children than whether or not the tricycle has a sticky-outy part, and we are fortunate in that we never need to panic over many, if not most, of those things. So, yes, recalls have their place -- the Fisher Price recall has its place -- but they shouldn't cause us to panic.

Wait 'til they recall the old metal bike tire frame that your kid's been using as a hula hoop. Then panic.

You can get the full details on the recall at Fisher Price at this page that they've set up to provide information about the recalled items.

Catherine Connors blogs at Her Bad Mother and Their Bad Mother and The Bad Moms Club, and everywhere in between. She recently decided to not quit blogging.

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