Two year old Charlotte Knight squeals with joy at the sight of toys, while her mother Caroline keeps a close eye on the toys.
"We have to be really cautious. Charlotte would be the one that the Barbie shoe or the Bratz foot would look good to eat," Gautier resident Caroline Knight said.
Tiny pieces and contaminated paint worry Knight, because the toy recalls are starting to come close to home.
"I've been through the toybox, raking through. This bag goes to charity, this bag needs to disappear," Knight said holding up two separte bags.
Miner's Toy Store owner Maryalice Miner has been flooded with letters from toy companies, assuring the safety of their products. Once upon a time, "Made in the USA" labels filled the majority of her store.
"It's completely reversed now. I would say China is maybe seventy percent," Miner said.
Miner's was stunned when it had to pull some of the Thomas the Train products from shelves. The problem is with the red paint, take a look. The company said the paint contains lead. It's used to make the color brighter, and dry faster. It's also less expensive for the consumer.
"They have a figure eight set that retails for $39.95. The American made equipment is $89.95," Miner said.
Miner says companies must be held accountable for creating safe products. But it's also up to parents to abide by age suggestions on the toys. The cost or the toy's origin might not matter to Charlotte, but Knight says her daughter's safety is most important.
Miner says that as a specialty toy store, they primarily work with smaller toy companies that seem to have a better handle on their production operations. Mattel, one of the world's largest toy makers, has vowed to change its current practices on toy inspections, including testing paint before it's used on toys and increasing the number of random inspections.
By Keli Rabon
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