In the capitalist pockets of urban India, there certainly seems to be no dearth of money. What then can be a better way, for present-day parents to spend their 'well- acquired' and 'not-so-well acquired' wealth on, than to pamper their progeny?
To suit the increasing requirements of an ever-growing bandwagon of consumers, the toy manufacturers have churned out an enviably -endless array of toys, in every hue and size. But are these innocuous -looking objects as harmless as they seem? Scientists, who have analyzed them, wag a warning finger to indicate the contrary.
The scientific study was carried out on randomly selected toys from Indian stores. Most of these toys were manufactured in China for leading US toy manufacturers. The labels on these toys depicted them to be non-toxic, while the study showed that 65% of these toys had lead in them, of which 14% contained alarmingly high ratios ranging between 190-600 ppm. Some samples of toddlers' toys, like teethers, which should be zero- toxic, had more than 600 ppm. Needless to say, teeming numbers of these toys, which have been recalled in the USA and Europe, have found 'shelf life' in the Indian metros.
• While choosing toys, try to avoid bright colors such as red, yellow and blue
• Avoid plastic toys, particularly those containing Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC)
• Train children to avoid oral contact with toys
Despite the strides taken towards a blazing economy, India, like other developing nations, continue to be a dumping ground for Western 'wastes'. This plight of affairs has been promoted by the policy of free trade. Certain sections of the Indian media do not vindicate the toy manufacturers. Instead they assign the blame to lack of regulations and enforcing bodies. Although that may be partly conceded, these toy companies, which are corporate giants, cannot ease away from sharing the responsibility of 'playing' with budding lives.
There is a need to create conscientious monitoring bodies and to generate awareness among the general public to ensure that young lives are not entangled in the cobweb of apathy. The ideal remedy for this situation would be to go back to the basics by promoting wooden toys which are also a part of the rural employment scenario. The other method of choice would be to promote outdoor games among the young.
As Doris Smith says, 'A baby is God's way of saying the world should go on.' Children are vulnerable. They entrust adults with the task of providing them with a safe template to build a future.
Let us ensure the safety of our children.
Let us make sure that the show goes on.