Before allowing your kids to play with toys relatives give them during the holidays, it’s a good idea to make sure they aren’t known death traps. The Better Business Bureau sent in some suggestions on how to make sure your toys haven’t been recalled, and what to if you find out they have been summoned to toy hell. [More]
Apparently aiming to become the Toyota of the kiddie products industry, Fisher-Price has issued four different recalls today, covering dozens of products and millions of units. So if you have a young kid, you’ll probably want to at least scan the list. [More]
Yesterday we talked about Bratz, so it’s only fair that we give Barbie some space today. Especially this Barbie, the Video Girl Doll. While this piece of plastic looks like any other Barbie doll, it harbors a secret: a hidden camera in a pendant around her neck, which can record up to 30 minutes of video.
Mattel gushes over the spy-doll:
Budding filmmakers, take note: BarbieÂ® doll now doubles as a video camera! Girls can record and play back clips with this multi-tasking doll, which has a video camera built right in. Capture everything from a doll’s-eye-view, then watch it instantly or upload to your computer. There’s an LCD screen on BarbieÂ® doll’s back, and a camera lens hidden discreetly in her necklace. Talk about making movies in style!
After a 2008 court ruling found that the creator of the Bratz line of dolls had stolen the idea from Mattel (or rather, from himself, when he was working for Mattel), all Bratz products were supposed to be destroyed, and Mattel had the right to take over the brand and do whatever it wanted with it. A judge put the mass annihilation on hold, and today an appeals court overturned the initial ruling, meaning your local toy store may soon be carrying the next generation of the once-popular dolls. [More]
Have you always wanted to use an Internet-enabled collar and a Twitter feed to keep up with what your dog is up to when you’re out of view? Me either, but Mattel thinks that there might be a market for this sort of thing, and will bring Puppy Tweets to market this summer. [More]
Over the last five decades, the vaguely human-shaped fashion doll Barbie has had a lot of careers. Barbie’s jobs have changed over time along with perceptions of what the little girls who played with her could grow up to become. She was a nurse in 1961, then a surgeon in 1973. She was a student teacher in 1965, and President of the United States and a Starfleet officer in 2000. Now, Mattel is hopping on the geek chick bandwagon with Computer Engineer Barbie. [More]
Mattel’s new “beautronics” device aimed at tween girls, the Barbie Nail Printer, is a glorified inkjet printer that customizes and prints designs on your fingernails. Neat idea in theory, though a bit pricey at $180. However, Mattel has apparently overlooked an essential part of the inkjet printer business model: selling new and overpriced cartridges. The problem, reader Richard writes, is that the company refuses to take orders for new cartridges, saying that they won’t be available until next year. But I want pink leopard print fingernails now! [More]
Shopping for toys at Target, Anthony noticed an interesting change in a small, inexpensive doll that his daughter enjoys. The princesses have been affected by a toy shrink ray–the dolls are smaller, the mold used to make them is different, and they come with fewer accessories–for the same price, naturally. [More]
This holiday season’s inexplicably hot toy, Zhu Zhu Pets, may be hazardous to your health. And not just because many parents stood outside in the cold for hours to get one. No, according to green ratings guide GoodGuide.com, the cuddly robot toys contain high levels of the substance antimony, which could be hazardous. [More]
Playing “Madoff investors” just got a little easier thanks to Mattel’s “Palm Beach Sugar Daddy” Ken doll, which will be released in April of 2010.
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Target decided to break its rule about not talking to blogs and responded to our inquiry about the Fisher Price Rock A Stack toys with the blue rings that bleed blue dye on those who encounter it. We asked how many complaints has Target received about this defect? Are there any plans to remove the toy it from the shelves? And If a customer has bought the toy and wishes to return or exchange it, is a receipt required? They responded thusly:
Back in June we noted that the FDA was about to get a lot more say over the tobacco industry if the Senate approved a new bill. Well they did, and so yesterday the FDA flexed its new muscles by banning fruit, herb, spice, and candy flavorings from cigarettes. That’s right: clove cigarettes were just banned by the FDA, which is bad news for gothy teens and great news for everyone else.
When the CPSIA—the toy safety law that requires independent lab tests on toys—was passed, a lot of smaller toy manufacturers complained that it was really a dirty trick by the big toy companies to increase overhead for the small ones. Now comes word that the government has secretly exempted Mattel from the law’s testing requirements—even though Mattel was responsible for 6 lead-tainted toy recalls in 2007.
Mattel’s revenues are down by 19%. Toy sales from summer movies and flagship product Barbie and Hot Wheels are down. However, the company reported today that profits are way up. So what explains the profits? Blame a visit from Price Hike Barbie.
Remember back when lead toys were all the rage? Oh, those dangerous days, when you couldn’t lick a Dora the Explorer doll without fear of memory loss! Well, Mattel and the Consumer Prouct Safety Commission (CPSC) have reached an agreement on how much Mattel should pay for importing toys that exceeded U.S. lead safety guidelines, and the amount is $2.3 million. Maybe now the CPSC can use some of that money to grease the DC wheels and get their new chair nominee confirmed.