China Toy Expo Shows the Dynamism of the Toy Industry in China

Resized.EMILIALSINAby Emili Alsina

Over 50,000 professionals of the toy, baby, and licensing industries visited the trade shows organized by the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (CTJPA) in Shanghai from October 14 to 16: China Toy Expo, China Kids Expo, and China Licensing Expo. This attendance represents a 26 percent increase compared to the previous year. Alsina, editor of the Spanish magazine Juguetes B2B (specializing in the toy industry in Spain) and member of the International Toy Magazine Association (ITMA), attended these three trade shows to witness the latest trends and developments of the industry in China.

The toy market is very dynamic in China, and has a consumer (the parents) increasingly interested in products that provide educational value to their children. The kids, in turn, are increasingly interested in licensed products. China Toy Fair, which has been held for the last 12 years–and is the largest international toy fair in mainland China and the third largest worldwide–was celebrated simultaneously with the China Kids Expo (childcare sector) and the China Licensing Expo (licensing sector).

Resized.LEGOJuguetes B2B, a professional communication magazine specializing in the toy industry in Spain, attended the three trade shows to give informational coverage of the latest trends in the industry that will shape the Chinese market next year. The strategy of holding the three exhibitions simultaneously makes perfect sense, given the synergies that occur between the three different sectors. For instance, the licensing business has a large influence in the toy industry, with licenses for baby care products as well. Therefore, celebrating the events at the same time is an interesting opportunity for the professionals. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Summer Is Here!

Yes, yes, I know that summer actually starts next month. But for all intents and purposes, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and for the next three months, we’ll be cramming in as many cookouts, camping trips, beach days, and family get-togethers as we can. Kids have already started the countdown to the end of the school year, and after the long, harsh winter we had here in the northeast this year, they’re ready to get out and make the most of their summer vacation. Here are some great outdoor toys that will make it a summer to remember:

slipnslide

The Slip ‘n Slide Wave Rider, from Wham-O, is an obvious go-to for a hot summer day. This 16-foot slide is a classic way for kids ages 5 to 12 to cool off and have hours of fun. Hydro-glide technology creates water beads on the surface, giving kids a fast ride, and the included boogie board gives an even smoother time as kids slide alongside the water bumper and into the splash pool. The bumper also continuously sprays water, guaranteeing a cool, wet ride. [Read more...]

Step2 Continues Supporting Research on Congenital Heart Defects in Babies

Step2.TropicalIslandResortStep2 Company, in continued support for the efforts of the Saving tiny Hearts Society (StHS), which is committed to funding research on congenital heart defects (CHD), is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of its Tropical Island Resort water table. This year in the U.S. alone, 40,000 babies will be born with a CHD, making it the country’s number one birth defect. The condition affects nearly 1 million babies each year.

Step2.tiny_heartsThe Tropical Island Resort water table features packaging with tiny hearts superhero Myles splashing it up with his friends. Myles has a scar from his three previous open-heart surgeries—the results of being born with a severe complex congenital heart disease, single ventricle. He is based on the two-year-old son of a Step2 employee.

Whisper Ride Touring Wagon Recalled Due to Fall Hazard

Step2.WagonThe Whisper Ride Touring Wagon, from Step2, is being recalled. Step2 has received 29 reports of the seat back detaching, 28 of which resulted in children falling out of the wagon. Fourteen of these resulted in bumped heads and nine resulted in bruises, scratches, or lacerations.

The two-seat plastic wagon is 25 inches wide by 41.25 inches long by 20 inches high, with blue seats, a tan wagon base, and a red canopy. The Step2 logo appears on the canopy and on the side of the wagon base. This item was sold exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and online at toysrus.com from February to August 2013.

Consumers should immediately stop using the wagon and inspect it to determine if the seat belt is attached to the removable blue seat back. If so, the wagon is included in this recall. Consumers with the recalled wagons should contact Step2 to obtain a free repair kit: Call toll-free at (866) 860-1887 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.step2.com and click on “Product Recall” for more information.

Step2 Recalls 21,000 Toy Drums

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Health Canada, in cooperation with The Step2 Company, has announced a voluntary recall of approximately 21,000 of Step2’s Basic Rhythms Drums.

The toy drums pose a potential choking hazard to young children, because the plastic clips used to attach the drumsticks to the drum can break. The drums were set at Toys “R” Us, Burlington Coat Factory, and other retail stores nationwide from August 2009 through this March for between $10 and $15.

The CPSC advises consumers to immediately take the recalled toy from children and contact Step2 to request a replacement toy.