Toyland Joins the Ethanol Debate: Lil' Gas Pump

I spend a great deal on the beach during the summer hanging out with a friend who is an energy expert – he’s a nuclear engineer by training and now puts together major energy deals. Two weeks ago I asked for a ten point plan–how do we fix our energy crisis. Our conversation got very heated (sorry)…I went home feeling depressed that we did not have a coherent plan that our smartest minds had put into place decades ago. Now we are left scrambling for stop gap solutions…

What does this possibly have to do toys? I came back to our office to discover that the traditional “gas pump” toy now has a very political energy agenda! The new Tonka Lil’ Gas Pump allows you to select your gas — one of the choices is ethanol! The box makes no mention of the corn based alternative–but the toy itself allows you to select ethanol by placing the corn logo in the down position. The back of the toy also has a diagram (done in plastic relief) showing how ethanol is made.

Lead: How much of an issue?

We are still working with toy companies to get everyone on the same page in terms of lead content as part of our review process–in fact I believe we are making really great progress which we will share as we get closer to the fall.  My question, its been almost a year since the whole issue exploded–is it something you’re still thinking about when you go to the toy store?   Are there other safety concerns that you feel need to be addressed?

Outdoor Fun Toys

Since I did the outdoor segment on the Today Show last week, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about the really big inflatable ball — the ball is from Hearthsong.  Our recommendation is that you buy the pump they offer if you don’t already have one!  And as I mentioned on the show–you really do need to supervise the use of this product which is marked 6 & up. As soon as we went off air on Thursday all the kids wanted a turn inside the ball while the other kids rolled them around. It’s fun, but needs an adult around.