Toys "R" Us Announces New Safety Guidelines

Reader and commenter jurijuri says:

Just got this email from Toys ‘R’ Us in my inbox and thought you’d be interested. I’m normally pretty skeptical about corporate promises like this, but if they implement these changes I’m going to be pretty impressed.

Keep up the good work!

Here’s what Toys “R” Us has to say:

February 15, 2008

A Message From Gerald L. Storch,
Chairman and CEO, Toys”R”Us, Inc.

Dear Valued Guest,

At Toys”R”Us, Inc., kids are central to who we are and to what we do. Our commitment to their safety is non-negotiable. I wanted to share with you today some of the decisive and proactive changes we have made recently to our already rigorous quality assurance standards:

NOTIFICATION TO MANUFACTURERS OF INCREASED QUALITY ASSURANCE STANDARDS AND OVERSIGHT:

We have instructed all manufacturers who produce items for Toys”R”Us, Inc. that products shipped to the company on or after March 1, 2008 must comply with strict new standards, which include:

Significantly increasing the frequency of third-party testing, including each batch of product imported to the United States by Toys”R”Us, Inc.;

Ensuring all product samples submitted for testing are selected by the company’s third-party, certified laboratory;
Date-coding all products;

Applying a more stringent standard of 90 ppm for lead in surface coatings versus the current federal standard of 600 ppm for all products manufactured exclusively for Toys”R”Us, Inc.;

Requiring substrate materials to meet a standard of 250 ppm for lead versus the company’s current standard of 600 ppm for all products manufactured exclusively for Toys”R”Us, Inc.; and

Using lead-screening equipment to conduct company auditing of all products at their point of origin and at various points in the supply chain.

REDUCTION OF PHTHALATES AND POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC) USE:
All manufacturers have been notified that by the end of 2008 juvenile products sold in any Toys”R”Us or Babies”R”Us store in the United States must be produced without the addition of phthalates that have raised concerns about infant safety.

Additionally, as we move closer to our goal of offering PVC-free products, we have already begun replacing PVC and phthalates in juvenile products manufactured exclusively for Toys”R”Us, Inc.

ELIMINATION OF NICKEL-CADMIUM BATTERIES FROM ALL PRODUCTS MANUFACTURED EXCLUSIVELY FOR TOYS”R”US, INC.
We have instructed manufacturers to immediately take steps to eliminate the use of nickel-cadmium batteries from all items manufactured exclusively for Toys”R”Us, Inc. This process is expected to be complete by the end of 2008.

We know that you trust and expect that we will always do the right thing when it comes to the safety of children, and we take that responsibility very seriously. At every turn, we will continue to look for ways to provide the safest shopping environment for the children and families we serve. We love kids and babies – and safety in all we do for them, and for you, is an imperative.

Sincerely,

Gerald L. Storch
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Toys”R”Us, Inc.

What do you think?

(Photo:TheBeeGirl)

Comments

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  1. SWFL_Dan says:

    Oh, I feel safer already! I bet this testing is being done by the same people that handle Manduhtory binding arbitration for large companies, and look how well that’s turned out (for the companies)!

  2. MBPharmD says:

    “ELIMINATION OF NICKEL-CADMIUM BATTERIES FROM ALL PRODUCTS MANUFACTURED EXCLUSIVELY FOR TOYS”R”US, INC”

    That will be easy. The companies will just stop shipping everything with batteries pre-installed. Ta-daa!

  3. theblackdog says:

    @MBPharmD: You mean a company putting the burden of safety and responsibility on the customer? *shocked face*

  4. luckybob343 says:

    I think the most important phrase in the entire letter (and it was used more than once) is the qualifier “for all products manufactured exclusively for Toys”R”Us, Inc.”

    As my wife insists that adults do NOT play with Legos, I have not been to the store in quite some time. I am unfamiliar with how many products are manufactured exclusively for them, but I can’t imagine it’s a large number. Browsing through their 10-K, I don’t see much mention of exclusive products so I’m guessing it’s below 10%.

    So what they’ve done is slightly alter one component of a minor part of their business (which was likely handled by changing manufacturers, saving money) and now they’re promoting the hell out of it.

    This is a classic PR move. Why is it being promoted as a good thing here?

  5. unklegwar says:

    I think it’s toothless.

    Every single item is qualified with “items manufactured EXCLUSIVELY for Toyr R Us”.

    That means it only applies to items you can’t get anywhere else. It doesn’t apply to any items that you can get at other stores.

    How much stuff do they sell that no one else sells? Not much, I’ll bet.

  6. aloe vera says:

    As a new mom, I have shopped at BRU. They do have quite a fair amount of items that are exclusive to their store. A quick search of the BRU website on their “especially for baby” brand comes back with 135 items.
    I would say this is a start. Hopefully more retailers will put the pressure on toy and baby item manufacturers to be more responsible.

  7. arniec says:

    Toys R Us carries a number of exclusive items for all major toy lines from Mattell and Hasbro. As a toy collector and host of a toy collecting podcast (check out my website, swactionnews.com) I have to keep up with all of this, and for every “event movie” released TRU usually has at least one exclusive, Target a second, and Wal Mart a third.

    However, a lot of times exclusives aren’t “manufactured to be exclusive”…often they’re value packs of items packaged other ways, or special pack-in items with other readily available items. As such I’m certain that very little ACTUALLY applies to this…

    Given that TRU is in dire straits as Wal Mart is the nation’s #1 toy seller, I don’t think they’re in much of a position of power to force toy companies to do ANYTHING (Wal Mart could, but wouldn’t as they’re cheap and don’t need PR). I think what this might actually mean is fewer Toys R Us exclusives, which is a good thing for adult collectors such as myself who have jobs and can’t stalk stores for an item to be released.

  8. timmus says:

    PVC is banned? Isn’t PVC used practically everywhere for fresh water lines?

  9. REDUCTION OF PHTHALATES AND POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC) USE:
    All manufacturers have been notified that by the end of 2008 juvenile products sold in any Toys”R”Us or Babies”R”Us store in the United States must be produced without the addition of phthalates that have raised concerns about infant safety.

    I read that as including all products sold by the stores and then the next paragraph saying that they have already started the process for their own brands.

  10. FLConsumer says:

    @timmus: That’s CPVC (Chlorinated poly-vinyl chloride) pipes for potable water. PVC is fine for drain pipes ‘though.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If they get rid of all the unsafe, potentially dangerous, and lead tainted toys, what exactly, will they have left to sell?

  12. Mr. Gunn says:

    I’m not going to bash them for making an effort. They even have specific details about exactly what steps they are taking. I think that’s pretty great, actually, and should serve as a role model for other companies to follow.

    I mean, they could have just said, “We’re taking lead/phthalates seriously.”

  13. I thought they were folding the toy selling portion of Toys R Us because Walmart had stolen all of their marketshare and Kids and Babies r Us were actually profitable. Who knew they still sold toys?

    Since I don’t have any ankle biting leeches, I didn’t.

  14. timsgm1418 says:

    I agree, doing something is better than doing nothing at all@Mr. Gunn:

  15. Mo0 says:

    @PotKettleBlack: Not quite. At one point they were going to split off the pr ofitable Babies-R-Us division because they couldn’t find a buyer for the toy division, but they then found a group that was willing to buy the whole company. They did convert some Toys-R-Uses to Babies-R-Uses though, because those are the better-performing stores.

  16. FLConsumer says:

    @cunnij98: Bag ‘o Glass Shards, of course!