The cops in Middleton, Wisconsin, used to give children stuffed animals to comfort them when they had witnessed a traumatic event like a traffic accident or domestic abuse. But from now on, those kids are getting books instead, thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's efforts to run old toys—which have a small chance of failing to comply with overly-stringent new rules about labeling the metal and chemical content in any object intended for kids under 12—out of town:
The new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act…has law enforcement officers rethinking handing out stuffed animals because of the chemicals they might contain.
[Middleton police Sgt. Don Mueller] said that he used to hand out Teddy bears or other stuffed toys to children. Now, Middleton police are using the books to make sure they're in compliance with new federal regulations."One of the reasons for that is we get older toys that come in and they're perfectly fine to give out, but we don't know if they were made under the new requirements," he said.
I'm all for handing out books to kids, but there's a reason the cops' first choice was teddy bears. And literacy crusaders might want to think twice about encouraging kids to associate reading with that time Daddy had too many beers and slugged Mommy and then there were all these flashing lights and sirens and the police officer kept saying "Stop crying and read, dammit!"
Via Amend the CPSIA