Albany County Agrees to Halt Enforcement of Toy Ban

As reported by the Toy Industry Association, a federal judge has granted a motion to stay an Albany County law banning the sale of toys and other children’s products containing certain chemicals. The law will not be enforced while the county seeks to address the serious legal concerns raised by a lawsuit filed by the Safe to Play Coalition last month.

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Toy Advocacy Groups Come Out in Favor of Safe to Play Coalition Lawsuit

A number of advocacy groups representing manufacturers and sellers throughout the toy industry favor a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court against Albany County. The lawsuit, filed by the Safe to Play Coalition, alleges that by passing Albany County Local Law No. J, the county acted with gross disregard of extensive federal laws regulating the safety of toys and children’s products.

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GUEST COMMENTARY: Feds to Ban Kids’ Soft Plastic Toys for No Good Reason

by Jeff Stier, senior fellow, National Center for Public Policy Research

jeffstierThe Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants to hear from you.

The agency has extended its comments period until April 15 as it considers a rule that would regulate a range of chemicals within a group called phthalates. These chemicals, among other purposes, keep plastics from shattering when bent, and play a useful role in a range of consumer products.

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New York Lawmakers Try Again to Pass Toxic Toy Bill

On Monday, Republican Senator Phil Boyle and Democratic Assemblyman Steve Englebright of New York said they would reintroduce legislation intended to ban the use of toxic chemicals in children’s toys. The measure, which failed to pass the state Senate last year, would require manufacturers to phase out the use of benzene, mercury, cadmium, and cobalt. [Read more...]

U.S.-Canadian Steering Committee to Consider Unified Toy Standards

Toy_Industry_Association_Inc_logoAs reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), U.S. and Canadian regulators, standards development organizations, and toy industry representatives held discussions in Ottawa, Canada, on January 7 to discuss the possibility of unified U.S.-Canadian toy safety standards that would be acceptable for both countries to use in regulating toys. [Read more...]

Bandai and The Smiling Bear Launch Koala Plush in Australia

SmilingBearThe Smiling Bear product range is now available exclusively from Discover Australia stores at all major Australian airports, and coming soon online at smilingbear.com. The plush toy and accessory product range has been developed under license by Bandai. [Read more...]

Lionel Opens New Brick-and-Mortar Store and Headquarters in North Carolina

Lionel.NewStoreThis past Monday, Lionel opened its first retail store in Concord, N.C. The new location will serve as a central station for popular train sets, replicas, and collectibles, as well as store-exclusive gifts and keepsakes.

To celebrate the new store, which will also serve as the company’s new headquarters, Lionel President Howard Hitchcock drove festivities with J. Scott Padgett, the mayor of Concord, and Donna Carpenter, the CEO of the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Lionel.NewStore2The store will become a terminal for field trips, new product testing, and company announcements. The 1,100-square-foot space will house one of Lionel’s fully decorated layouts, which will feature different trains throughout the year. Kids can control the layout with handheld remotes and test the newest trains.

Lionel has made numerous expansion efforts of late, including partnering with the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago to debut its first life-sized trackless train ride, The Lionel Train Adventure, earlier this month. The company has also continued to add licenses for new train models through partnerships with DC Comics, Coca-Cola, Crayola, and other brands.

Demdaco Launches New Baby Products Collection with kathy ireland Worldwide

kathyirelandDemdaco has entered into a licensing agreement with kathy ireland Worldwide, one of the country’s most powerful brands founded by CEO and Chief Designer, Kathy Ireland. The new line of products, kathy ireland Baby by Demdaco, features luxurious baby blankets and plush toys designed as a result of a collaboration between Demdaco’s Nat & Jules development team and kathy ireland Worldwide.

The kathy ireland Baby collection is a natural extension to the Nat & Jules brand of children’s toys and keepsakes. The collection will be available to preview in Demdaco showrooms this winter in Atlanta, Dallas, and Las Vegas. Kathy Ireland will make a special guest appearance in the Atlanta Demdaco showroom on January 9 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Safari Ltd.’s Wild Safari Gyropsaurus Wins Prehistoric Times’ Dinosaur of the Year

dinosaurSafari Ltd. has received Prehistoric Times magazine‘s 2013 Dinosaur of the Year award for its Wild Safari Gyrposaurus. Prehistoric Times magazine caters to both retail stores and individual dinosaur enthusiasts. The magazine is celebrating its 20th year in distribution. The staff and the retailers that were canvassed gave strong support for the Gyrposaurus.

Safari Ltd.’s Wild Life dinosaur collection features high-quality figures with a great amount of detail and accuracy. The company is a third-generation, educational toy company whose mission is to teach children the importance of nature and its conservation through the joy of play.

American Girl Welcomes the Brand-New World of Bitty Baby

BittyBabyAmerican Girl debuted its Bitty Baby line of 15-inch dolls, outfits, and accessories. The new line includes 11 different dolls with various skin tones and hair- and eye-color combinations, as well as illustrated picture books, premium play sets, plush animals, and online activities.

Kids ages 3 and up can select their doll from the expanded choices, at which point they receive the Bitty Baby doll dressed in a signature sleeper, along with a special “wishing star” keepsake toy and Bitty Baby and Me, the first in a series of five hardcover picture books featuring ways to play. New outfits in various designs are also available to allow kids to further personalize their Bitty Baby.

The new Bitty Baby picture-book collection, by Newbery Honor Award-winner author Kirby Larson and award-winning illustrator Sue Cornelison, follows a little girl and her beloved Bitty Baby doll as they discover the world around them. Each book also comes with a special section for parents that focuses on the social and emotional experience of preschoolers and offers tips to parents. [Read more...]