Hasbro Incorporated, the nation's second-largest toy maker, is recalling parts of a toy workbench set after two children apparently suffocated on oversized plastic toy nails, company officials said. As a parent, my mind immediately goes to the "paper towel tube test," wherein objects small enough to pass through the tube are too small for children under the age of two. Or is that twelve? Or eighteen?
No matter, it seems that a nineteen month old boy choked on one of the three inch plastic nails, and another two year old boy "allegedly" choked on one within a seven month span. About 255,000 the Playskool Team Talkin' Tool Bench have been sold. Two deaths.
Now, don't get me wrong, zero deaths from a child's toy would be the desired outcome - or at least that's what we'd all like to think. It brings to mind Dan Aykroyd as Irving Mainway on Saturday Night Live shilling "Bag O' Glass", "Mr. Skin Grafter" and "Pretty Peggy's Ear Piercing Kit." It's what they used to refer to in Viet Nam as "acceptable losses." When you first read that "three inch nail" thing, did you hold your fingers up, about that far apart and try to imagine - "three inches? two years old?" My kid, who I consider to be of above average intelligence, had to have an eraser pulled out of his nose when he was in second grade. That would be second grade, not second year of life.
Now prepare for the litigation. It's never really a tragedy in the United States until the lawyers get paid. But here's the deal: Hasbro is offering a fifty dollar gift certificate for their products if you return the nails. The whole tool bench sells for thirty-five bucks. So who's going to suffer? The ones who are going to have to pay the difference - those of us buying the retro-lawn dart sets.