Toy fads have been around as long as there have been toys.  When I was a kid it was Hot Wheels.  My friends and I were in a veritable arms race to see who could amass the biggest arsenal of cars and elaborate track designs.

Our daughters went through a couple of different fads during their childhood years.  Alyssa just had to have a talking Teddy Ruxpin for Christmas one year.  She played with it for about a week and then lost interest.  (If you ever had one, you might remember that when the batteries on the cassette player started to get low, Teddy's voice would sound like a demon.)  Don't know how much that thing would be worth today, but Wicked Cool Toys brought them back last year and is now selling them for around $100.

The most memorable toy-fad event for our family was in the late 90's when we were on vacation in the Texas Hill Country.  Kristen decided that she just had to have a  Tamagotchi, and we drove up one hill and down another looking for a K-Mart or Wal-Mart that had them in stock.  We finally found one in Kerrville and Kristen spent a considerable amount of her vacation time making sure that digital pet was fed and happy.  Don't know what ultimately happened to it, but I would imagine the Tamagotchi is in a box in our garage somewhere, dead.

The fad of the moment would appear to be the fidget spinner, and its manufacturers are no doubt looking forward to banner sales at Christmas this year.  However, those prospects took a hit this week when Target decided to remove two models of fidget spinners from its shelves because tests revealed they contained high levels of lead.

What's interesting about this development is that technically fidget spinners are not "toys". The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has classified fidget spinners as "general use" products and not as "children’s toys". That fact would normally be immaterial, but in this case it's at the heart of the issue.  As general use products, fidget spinners are not subject to CPSC-mandated lead limits for children's toys.

The CPSC labeled the spinners “Ages 14+” but, in practice, they're often used by younger children.  After some pressure from consumer and health advocacy groups, Target decided to pull the spinners from shelves on Friday.  In case you have kids who are expecting a fidget spinner or two from Santa this year, here are the two brands that have been taken off of Target's shelves:  “Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass” and “Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal.

If your child has a fidget spinner or will soon be getting one, take a tip from a veteran of family fad-finding forays.  When your kid loses interest in that toy he or she just had to have, don't toss it out.  Lock it up somewhere because you never know how much it might be worth someday.

Anybody wanna buy several truckloads of Ty Babies?  I can get 'em for you cheap.



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