Some of you may have noticed the changes in our infant line: new rattles and manipulatives, the disappearance of a couple of things, and changes to a few of our older toys. The biggest change? The disappearance of wooden rings, for the most part.
So, why did we banish most of the rings from our line? Especially when they were a part of some fabulous and beautiful toys?
In short, we found that we couldn't guarantee their durability.
All of our toys are tested according to Health Canada's Safety Requirements for Children's Toys, which includes a drop test of varying heights, depending on the age of the child using the toy. We even go above and beyond the drop tests that are stipulated, and do "adult throw tests" which abuse our toys in ways that an infant or toddler likely never could (although I have met some pretty strong toddlers). Our process looks like this:
1. We design and make a new toy.
2. We do several drop tests, of several prototypes, on hard surfaces, and check the toy for any damage between each drop.
3. If it has survived this far, we take turns throwing the toy as hard as we can at a concrete floor, just to experiment with how much it can take.
Most of our toys can take quite a bit of damage. All of our toys pass the regular drop tests before we sell them to anyone. Some of our toys are fairly unbreakable, even by giggling, mad adults bent on destruction.
The lengths we go to in testing our toys is what made it absolutely heartbreaking when a parent reported that one of our rattles broke when her child dropped it on a tile floor. Pulse racing, sick-to-my-stomach, kind of dizzy, heartbreaking. (If anyone ever wants to talk about the terrifying responsibility of designing toys for infants, drop me a line). So out to the workshop we went, and discovered that despite the durability of our initial shipments of the larger wooden rings, a few rings in what was our latest shipment, did, in fact, break when dropped on a hard surface. We immediately stopped selling these items (thank you for the patience of those who wanted to buy one, and, hurrah, our new ring-less rattles are ready!), and decided to go into redesign mode. Even if it was one ring in a hundred that might break, that ring would be one too many.
We found that the smaller rings are durable, and thus they're still around in a couple of our rattles (the Circus and Orbit), and we switched out the manufactured wooden rings in some other products (the Ribbon, Dotty and Fabric Rings) for our own, which are a bit more like giant wooden washers. We actually like our new products even more than our old ones, and we also enjoy the peace of mind that's coming with their super durability.
A big thank you goes out to the parent who contacted us about the ring breakage (thankfully only a few were sold from that shipment of rings, and all to people we had contact with), and please, please, let us know if you ever have any problem with one of our products. The safety and happiness of children is absolutely paramount to us, and we will always be happy to do what we can to make those ideals a reality.
A last note on wooden rings: After searching around on the internet, I found reports of these wooden rings breaking on other products, even toys from some fairly big name manufacturers. I've also seen a number of small businesses using them in products. Perhaps their rings are magically indestructible, or perhaps not, and these rings do make for some beautiful toys. As always, please inspect your child's toys regularly for damage - broken toys are no fun, and infants and children getting hurt, especially when it's preventable, is terrible.