“The myth of the ‘common toy box'”

by Walter Olson on April 22, 2010

Why do CPSIA’s ultra-stringent regulations apply not only to items used by kids small enough to chew on toys or buttons or combs, but also to those intended for much older kids? Because of an “urban myth” developed by consumer groups, Rick Woldenberg explains.


1 EGarland 04.22.10 at 12:16 pm

It strikes me that if the “Common Toy Box” is a concern regarding material contamination, why isn’t a concern for the other safety issues? For instance, while a toddler could certainly (in theory) chew on a 12-year-old’s painted toy, they can (and will) also certainly get hold of that same 12-year-old’s LEGOs…

And what about small objects elsewhere in the house? Nuts, Bolts, Nails…

Hence the only thing that can be done is to ban the manufacture of ANY object small enough to get lodged in a child’s windpipe…

2 GregS 04.23.10 at 9:42 am

I wonder if the “common toybox” argument is there to soften up people into accepting CPSIA-style restrictions on ALL products sold in America, including those for adults. After all, if the danger of a three year old chewing on his eleven year old’s sister’s doll is enough of a danger to justify regulating the doll’s lead and phthalate content, then surely the danger of the same child chewing on his mother’s blanket, or on a pen from his dad’s desk is just as much of a danger.

3 GregS 04.23.10 at 9:44 am

It also occurs to me that the “common toybox” argument is an example of another ill afflicting U.S. politics: lawmaking based on stupid catchphrases.

4 William Nuesslein 04.24.10 at 10:16 am

Rick Woldenberg’s article is terrific. Our legislators, including Henry Waxman, have no concept of risk. To them bobbing for apples and bobbing for French Fries would be the same.

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