Parental Advisory Suggested
In 1975 an 8-year-old kid could ride his blue sparkle banana-seat bike home from his friend's house, sans helmet. Upon arrival he'd slam the bike down on the driveway, walk into the unlocked house, grab an untested painted Superman glass, chug down some non-organic whole milk and play a couple of games of Asteroids on his black and white 13" TV. After saving the world from certain astroid doom, he'd hop into the front seat of his mom's wood-paneled station wagon, without a thought to buckling his seat belt. Mom, also unbuckled, would light up a very long "You've Come a Long Way Baby" Virginia Slims cigarette, (crack the window approximately 1 cm, because that will definitely ventilate the car and remove all traces of second-hand smoke) put her foot on the clutch, shift to first gear and shuffle off happily to the grocery store for some butter, steaks, heavy cream and bacon.
It wasn't that the generation before us cared less, it's simply that we have more information today than they did in 1975. Now that we understand the consequences of falling off of a bike without wearing a helmet or ingesting toxic substances like lead, our society has adjusted. My oh my, how we have adjusted. Granted, it's much to the ire of some, but it's for the better.
If anyone can speak to the benefit of product safety it is suppliers of products and toys being marketed to children. "The most important thing now is safety, safety, safety," said Rich Carollo, vice president of marketing, Lion Circle Corporation, Chicago, Ill. "Anything plastic, painted or imported right now is going to be questioned extensively by the distributor and the end-user," he said.
When the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was created in 2008, calling to "establish consumer product safety standards and other safety requirements for children's products and to reauthorize and modernize the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)," it sent the promotional products industry into a tailspin. "When the laws first came out, it was a little daunting but we quickly learned to adjust. I think everybody did," said Maria Lafichi, executive vice president, Zenith Promotions, Lawrence, N.Y. After some time and careful ongoing regulatory observation, Lafichi noted, "Now it is getting easier. We are constantly educating ourselves, constantly staying on top of the laws, especially because they are always changing. And we are strict about it. All Zenith Promotions products are tested. Everything is tested by an independent third-party testing agency." Carollo also emphasized the importance of independent third-party testing, "Every product we create in our line we have to ask ourselves, 'Could it be considered a child's product?' If so, we get it tested."