There is an interesting discussion going on right now at the LEGO Ambassador Network about copycat brands from China becoming more and more prevalent in kids’ play bins. Some of these brands steal LEGO’s own designs and release them under their own name, and others make similar products as LEGO, with questionable quality and safety standards. LEGO is aware of these issues and they have been combating them on two fronts; protecting their legal rights and IP, and educating consumers, particularly parents.
In the description of all the newly released 2020 LEGO sets, they include the following text: “Since 1958, LEGO bricks have been tested to the highest industry standards to ensure consistency and compatibility, and that they connect and pull apart easily every time. At the LEGO Group, we drop, heat, crush, twist, and analyze LEGO pieces to make sure every building set meets the highest global safety and quality standards.” To demonstrate all the vigorous tests they put their products through, they also released an interesting video featuring the DUPLO product line.
LEGO also has a dedicated page on their website championing children’s safety, rights, and voices. They state the following:
At the LEGO Group, we strive to provide children with the safest possible products and experiences and have a relentless focus on product safety. This extends to ensuring we protect children in all our interactions with them, both online and offline – from the physical and digital play experiences we provide, to the calls we take in consumer services centers, to when we work with children on product testing or welcome them to our stores.
Our products meet, and often exceed, toy safety requirements globally, including the EU Toy Safety Directive and the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. We also comply with international legislation for chemical use and only approve materials that meet the highest safety standards. Any new material used must be approved by our internal rigorous safety assessment. We request the chemical recipes for raw materials used in LEGO products and make safety assessments based on the highest standards. Furthermore, we apply a very strict mechanical safety-approval process for every new element that is designed – it’s our safety by design approach.
In our approach to digital child safety, we are helping to empower children to become capable digital citizens. Our aim is to educate children on how they can stay safe online when using LEGO Life, our digital social network for kids and tweens. In 2018, we launched an update to LEGO Life, which introduces children to key safety elements while using the app. For example, they are taught to share with care, to respect fellow LEGO Life users, and to report something if it feels wrong.
Children have been safely playing with LEGO bricks for generations. We are so used to the quality, durability, and safety of LEGO that we don’t even think about what an unsafe construction toy may look like. Unfortunately, copycat companies have been taking advantage of this, and they have been getting away with flooding the market with similar looking products with no guarantees. People have been reporting lower quality plastic, broken pieces, printing that rubs off (and could potentially be dangerous), and various organic and non-organic substances inside the boxes. But sometimes they still shrug off all these warning signs, only focusing on the lower price.
Ultimately, LEGO fans and parents will have to make their own decisions, but I think it’s a good idea to at least open up the topic for discussion and exploration. What do you think? Do you only purchase LEGO (or other legitimate name brand) construction toys? Do you also purchase copycat brands and other construction toys with no guaranteed quality standards? What has been your experience with them? Feel free to share in the comment section below!
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