The answer is going to be, virtually every young child in the country. So virtually every young child could potentially have had contact with one or another of the more than 18 million toys recalled August 1 and 14 by Mattel. Some of the toys contain lead paint, and others contain small magnets that a child could swallow.
The recall list includes more than 18 million magnetic toys, almost half a million die cast toy cars, and 1.5 million Fisher-Price toys. The recalled toys are from popular product lines, and include Sarge cars, Barbie play sets, Polly Pocket dolls, Batman action figures, numerous Sesame Street characters, and Thomas the Tank Engine trains sold under the Fischer-Price label.
According to the 2007 report by the Federal Interagency on Child and Family Statistics, there are currently about 25 million children in the country who are under 6 years of age. More than half of all children under 7 years of age are in some sort of day care arrangement with a relative, non-relative, organized day care centre, or some combination of the three.
This means, for instance, that a child starting kindergarten or Grade 1 this September could have a different set of toys at home, at school, and at one or more day care places. Not counting the toys at the cousin's house, the friend's house, and in someone's car. The parents of at least 25 million children now have to check the toys in the house against Mattel's detailed recall list (available on Mattel's website). The day care operators and kindergarten teachers, at least, have to check the toys they have for the children.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as many as 1.7 million children aged 5 and under are now affected by lead poisoning. Most of the lead poisoning comes from lead paint and dust in older houses. But toys covered in lead paint are also a danger.
Parents now have to consider whether their children need blood testing for lead. A class action to force Mattel to set up a fund to pay for all this testing is in the works: to see if you might get any benefits through the potential class action, you can follow the links below.
As for the day care operators, they are in general conscientiously weeding through their toys.
READ MORE LEGAL NEWSTanya Jensen, regional manager of Kids Kastle Inc., which operates two day care centers in Rapid City, South Dakota, told the Rapid City Journal: "Immediately when we found out about the recall, we pulled the numbers off the Web site and went through all the toys. We did get rid of some cars, even though they weren't a complete match. But they were close enough that we weren't comfortable."
And Lorraine Garafola of the Children's Corner Day Care Center in Albany, New York, told Capital News 9: "It happens with different companies every few months or so. When I came in I just went on the Mattel website, got the list of toys and did the check again." None of the recalled toys were at her day care center, but in the process she learned that her son had two of the toys at home.