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Strict new rules on toys now raise the industry to HABA standards

Strict new rules on toys now raise the industry to HABA standards

Posted by Andrea Elliott on May 7th 2012

Strict new rules on toys now raise the industry to HABA standardsSKANEATELES, NY and BAD RODACH, GER. – HABA Toys was founded in Germany in 1938 by toymaker Mr. Klaus Habermaass to bring wonderful wooden toys to children everywhere. Decades later it became clear that to stay competitive in the worldwide toy business, HABA had to broaden its toy offerings beyond wood construction and that for competitive economic reasons the family company would have to seek some toy manufacturing opportunities beyond their Bavarian home. Habermaass stuck to his principles, however, by keeping the manufacture of wooden toys in Germany and holding tight reins on foreign manufacturers to insure the highest quality and safety standards. These standards remain in place to this day and HABA Toys are renowned the world over for their safety, quality and innovation. But the toy business at large was rocked in 2007 by a series of massive toy recalls by some of the more famous names in the industry, mostly as a result of elevated lead levels used in paints on a wide variety of well-known and popular toys manufactured in China. HABA Toys were never the subject of a lead recall or involved in any toxic material question. However, with all of the media attention to the toy recalls and rapid legislation addressing the situation pushed through Congress, a stigma attached to all toys made in China that has dampened the marketplace ever since. The truth is that the majority of toys made in China – including those manufactured there by HABA – were safe and produced under strict guidelines and testing procedures to ensure the safety and fun for the intended audience, children. Mr. Habermaass never wanted to manufacture toys overseas, but the realities of competiveness steered a new path. The HABA team now searches worldwide for suppliers and has, for instance, rugs made in New Zealand, and some other toys and children’s accessories are made in other European countries, such as Poland. The bulk of the foreign-sourced, textile toys, though, are made in China. HABA, like every other manufacturer of toys and children’s accessories, faced new and rapid rule changes in manufacturing and testing standards following the passage of The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008. Ironically, the CPSIA legislation, signed into law by President George W. Bush in August, 2008, encompassed and included a 2006 bill, the Lead-Free Toys Act, passed after sponsor Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) pushed a report on the matter that showed toys with unacceptable lead levels were being sold even in the U.S. Capitol gift shops. The CPSIA legislation addresses many product categories, like apparel, jewelry, books, electronics, and others, and also on quality standards for manufacturing anywhere, but a lot of the attention has been on toys, and specifically toys made in China. One of the more onerous provisions of the new legislation – mandatory 3rd-party testing for compliance – has been quite controversial in manufacturing circles because of the speed with which it was implemented and how it would impact those goods in the supply chain before the effective dates but not yet sold. The net effect has been changes in Chinese manufacturing that moved around the hubs of toy making, causing many toy companies to seek new manufacturing arrangements. HABA has long had a voluntary policy of testing, and so the new law has had minimal effect on the company’s policies and procedures -- in large part in the reporting requirements of the legislation. HABA, however, wishes to reassure its customers and potential customers that all of its toys and children’s accessories, including those made in China, are made with strict standards for safety and quality, as they always have been. HABA performs exacting, on-site quality control in the selection and operation of its manufacturing facilities from design to delivery. The firm also invested in a warehouse in Hong Kong as a distribution point for its China-made goods, and has staff members from Germany living there checking on suppliers to ensure that they are using safe working conditions and are producing items to company specifications. HABA, still a family owned company, is famous as a wood manufacturing company known for its high-quality baby and children's toys, as well as children's games and furniture -- a "single source supplier" for children. HABA also offers melamine dishes, games, room décor and outdoor sand and water toys. HABA products may be found in well-stocked specialty toy stores around the globe. For complete details call 800-468-6873.