COMMENTARY: Life-Size Plush Seems Like the Real Deal

Everything seems bigger when you’re a kid. Rooms, yards, playground equipment—it all just seemed so much larger back then. Revisiting childhood places and beloved toys of yesteryear can often be as amusing as it is perplexing, when making the comparison between how you perceived the same thing as a child versus now as an adult. I think that’s one of the things that makes childhood so special: It’s a finite amount of time to see the world from below and feel tiny. One of my great desires as a kid was to have a life-sized stuffed animal. Not a life-sized cat, bird, or bunny. I’m talking a life-sized elephant, lion, bear, camel—something enormous. I just wanted to be able to curl up on it and be engulfed. I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid either. Here are some great, life-sized plush products that will not only make kids feel like they’re up close and personal with nature, but will make an awesome Christmas morning scene under the tree.

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Melissa and Doug actually has a “giant stuffed animals” section online, featuring animals including a cheetah, a lion, an elephant, dogs, a penguin, and my favorite: the giraffe. The giraffe stands more than 4 feet tall, towering over kids with realistic markings and authentic facial features. Even as kids get older, this giraffe can transition into a decorative element of a bedroom without taking up much space. [Read more...]

CPSC Issues New Report on Toy Safety System Effectiveness, Shows Recalls Are Down

CPSCDuring the past five years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have stopped more than 9.8 million units of about 3,000 different toys that violated applicable standards. These products never made it onto store shelves and were kept out of consumers’ homes.

In recent years, the CPSC has created a robust toy safety system by requiring testing by independent, third party laboratories around the world; enforcing stringent lead and phthalates limits for toys; and stopping violative and dangerous toys at ports. This fiscal year, CPSC issued only 31 toy recalls, none of which involved a lead violation. This compares with 172 toy recalls in fiscal year 2008 (19 of which were due to excessive lead); 50 recalls in 2009 (14 for lead); 46 recalls in fiscal year 2010 (3 for lead); 34 recalls in 2011 (4 for lead); and 38 recalls last year (3 for lead).

Overall, toy-related deaths involving kids younger than 15 decreased from 19 in 2010, to 17 in 2011, and 11 last year (based on reports to date). The majority of toy-related fatalities last year were attributed to riding toys, including tricycles and nonmotorized scooters. For kids younger than 15 years old, non-motorized scooters were also the category of toys associated with the most injuries last year. Frequently, these injuries involved lacerations, contusions, and abrasions to the kid’s face and head. [Read more...]

Build-A-Bear Workshop Opens New Store at FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue

BABW_NewCircleLogoBuild-A-Bear Workshop has announced plans to open a shop within the FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue flagship store. Opening in early November, the new location is the first Build-A-Bear Workshop store-within-a-store in the U.S.

While visiting the store, guests can participate in the hands-on Build-A-Bear Workshop stuffed animal-making experience, which has been enhanced with digital technology. The company worked with Microsoft, Samsung, and other leading technology companies to create the store design, which includes:

  • A touchscreen storefront display that allows guests to interact with the brand by playing and exploring the latest Build-A-Bear Workshop furry friend collections.
  • An interactive Love Me station that enables guests to customize their stuffed animals by giving personality traits to the red satin heart, which is added to their animal at the Stuff Me station.
  • A Hear Me station where popular music and special sounds can be added. Guests can also record their own voice to further personalize their stuffed animal.
  • The Fluff Me station where customers can play with a sensory effects digital bath tub with virtual bubbles.
  • The Name Me station, which allows guests to reveal the personality traits and customized features that were added to their stuffed animal throughout the bear-making process. At Name Me, guests also create a one-of-a-kind birth certificate.