Having worked for a federal agency that annually goes underfunded and understaffed, initially I sympathized a teensy bit with the Consumer Product Safety Commission over the whole lead in toys fiasco.
Don’t call the League of Maternal Justice on me! I’m not justifying their actions, or lack thereof, but there’s only so much that can be done when an agency’s budget gets cut over and over again.
After I watched a CPSC spokesperson on CNN right before Thanksgiving, though, I realized my generosity was misplaced.
You see, it’s not their fault, they say, that so many dangerous toys are making their way into the system. You know, it’s not even their responsibility to catch them all. And hey, they have all of about 80 people, not one, keeping track of the millions of toys that come into our country and into our children’s toy boxes every year.
If our children aren’t being kept safe from dangerous toys, it’s partly our fault, said the CPSC spokesperson. And they can’t do their job unless we’re on the lookout for problems that we then report to them.
Yeah, that’s right.
It’s our fault and even though we’re not on Uncle Sam’s payroll, the CPSC wants us to get with the program and be more vigilant about reporting problems we see with toys!
Well, maybe she didn’t use the actual word ‘fault.’ But that was the clear implication with her comments and her snippy tone of voice and her oh-so-righteous body language. She was pretty much mocking American parents with this attitude — hey, don’t expect the CPSC to keep your toys safe.
‘Cause shouldn’t parents be checking to make sure toys are safe, too? And, hey, the CPSC has some resources, but they rely on consumers to tip them off to toys that could be harmful to our kids, she continued.
I realize there is definitely some truth to what this woman was saying, but her underlying message was that we’re a bunch of slacker parents who have no right to rely on the federal agency specifically tasked with making sure the toys our kids play with don’t kill them.
Next thing you know, they’ll be blaming Santa and the elves for not doing their jobs.