Safer Toys

Geek Culture

Rick Klau is a Geek Dad who got mad and did something about it…

  Several months ago, I wrote about the horror I experienced reading about Magnetix toys in the Chicago Tribune.
These toys – dozens of which were in our house at the time – had killed a young boy and injured many others. What was worse, the manufacturer and the government were both made aware of the hazards in the toys well ahead of the death. I decided that there had to be something that we –
concerned parents – could do to remedy the under-staffed government agency tasked with managing toy recalls. My summary:

Give thousands of parents the tools to easily identify harmful products, leverage the community’s ability to provide visibility to legitimate threats while minimizing less serious risks, and quickly disseminate information that could be instrumental in avoiding a serious accident.

I reached out to friends – Asha, Matt, Evan, Raanan, Ross, Dermot, Sean, Ray, and Dan and Genevieve from
– to invite their input to flesh the idea out. Ross graciously contributed a Socialtext workspace so we could brainstorm a bit on what this site should do, how it should function…


With that, I present
SaferToys is running on Pligg, an open-source Digg clone. Users can submit stories (links, original commentary, etc.), or they can simply visit “upcoming news” and look at what others have submitted. Any stories that a user feels are worthy of increased attention, that user should vote for the story. The more votes a story gets, the more visibility it gets. (By contrast, the more people who ‘Bury’ a story, the less likely that story is to be seen.)…

With recent news including the Thomas the Train recall, this week’s Mattel recall, the Chinese company’s CEO’s suicide I hope that SaferToys gets some love and sustained attention.  Rick is also looking for feedback on where to take this grassroots initative.

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