Silly Toy Company, Pills Are Not For Kids.

10475672_10152535341432171_4187068539234187791_nI take four medications each day. My husband also takes a couple. My four year old daughter, Delilah, has on more than one occasion expressed an interest in having her own “vitamins” like ours. I probably don’t need to tell you our medicine is stored high and out of reach.

photo 2More than once, I’ve explained to her that while the “vitamins” are helping Mommy and Daddy, her body is actually producing everything she needs on her own, which is even better, and medicine that she doesn’t need could actually hurt her. It’s a frequent discussion. She still thinks we’re cool and wants to be just like us.

photoThis past weekend, I celebrated BlogHer’s 10th Anniversary in San Jose with a few thousand other bloggers. Also in attendance? A plethora of brands who had paid good money to put their products in front of all those publishing Moms. Amongst them? Bright Starts, a major producer of baby toys.

photo 3I stopped briefly at their booth where they slipped a padded envelope into my hand emblazoned with their logo. Press materials, I figured, and I dropped it into the branded swag tote I’d been issued earlier.

And then this morning I started to sort through what I’d been handed. I opened the envelope, and I pulled out this very authentic looking pill bottle jam packed with candy, prescribed to laughter lover, and imprinted with the seal of the “Bright Starts Pharmacy: Where Fun Comes From.” Delilah was standing next to me and wondered aloud if they were for her. One of the below bottles holds enough xanax to euthanize a shetland pony and the other contains red hots. Can you tell which is which?

photo 1What in the actual fuck, Bright Starts? How many people did this concept go through before you allowed your PR team to hand out pill bottles filled with candy for parents of small children to carry home alongside branded stuffed animals and cookies with hosting company logos on them? And what exactly were all of them taking? Is this really where you think the fun comes from? 

Pills are not funny. They’re not toys. They’re not even swag. They’re deadly when placed in the wrong hands. So what were you thinking Bright Starts? 

Thanks to commenter Monica Brady for sharing this image:

Update:  Bright Starts rep Allison Nacalik called me today to talk about the ill-conceived swag. The company did not defend their decision to use pill bottles as a part of what they called their Baby Laugh Index “Prescription for Laughter” booth experience, but rather wanted to apologize for what they tell me they now see as a serious error in judgement. They have agreed to send out an email to all BlogHer attendees tomorrow highlighting the importance of pill safety for children and families.

And I only play sanctimonious every third Monday.

26 Responses to Silly Toy Company, Pills Are Not For Kids.

  1. Monica Brady says:

    Ummm… Who the heck thought that was a good idea??? Red Hots look a lot like Sudafed, which is very dangerous for a kid, or anyone if taken in excess! How many times were we told as kids, about medicines that look a lot like candy, stay away, etc… I know there’s a pic of it somewhere online… ah yes.. here it is…
    http://www.poison.org/prevent/documents/posters/candy%20or%20medicine%20poster.PDF

    No Way… That’s bad PR/Marketing… I seriously hope they think twice when they design something else to hand out at their next event…

  2. That is over the top awful. My hubby and I also take several meds a day. Our girls have had it drilled in their head they never touch one of the bottles. Seriously, who approved this idea?

  3. Kristine N says:

    As a pharmacist, this horrifies me.

  4. When I worked on Pharma Packaging we actually had that Poster at someone’s desk. Drug companies have to go out of their way to distinquish their drugs so they don’t look similar to other drugs (avoid confusion), but I’m not sure candy has to – makes it even harder if you put candy in a commonly recognized drug container. No need to try an confuse kids more… Send this link of your article to the FDA, I’m sure they’ll have something to say to Bright Starts. I

  5. Hi Morgan,
    Thank you for your blog post. While this was meant as a fun takeaway intended only for adult consumption, we did realize the concern and immediately stopped passing them out at the booth. If you’d like to speak to us further, please email us your contact number at brightstarts@kidsii.com
    Thank you,
    Bright Starts

  6. Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? says:

    Wow. That’s not funny at all and is quite terrifying, really!

  7. I’m glad to see a response from Bright Starts here, but I’m shocked this idea ever got to the handing-out-to-bloggers stage. I’m starting to feel that many of the marketing people for brands working with bloggers are new hires and super young, but thought I was just being an old cranky lady. But with something like this being overlooked? I don’t know.

  8. whoa – that is INSANE – I can’t believe that made it to production. Insane.

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  13. Carol says:

    Umm RIGHT?! I tweeted out a photo of them and was quickly pulled aside by Alison. She had said nobody had complained about it to them yet, I was like YEAH they are sealed in a bubble envelope that we aren’t going to just rip through right there in the Expo.. She did say she pulled them so that was a good thing. But man, who’s idea was that?!

  14. Michelle says:

    This probably wasn’t thought through very well

  15. donna says:

    I’m kind of speechless right now. I’m trying to imagine bringing one of these pill bottles home and showing my husband that I thought it was a good idea to buy this for my 6 year old. As someone who was on Paxil for 6 years, I don’t find this a bit funny. I worked way too hard to overcome my need for these bottles. Why would I want to give my daughter the first inkling that she needs one?

  16. donna says:

    On second thought, were these intended for adults, or children? Because they were distributed by Bright Starts, I was assuming that they were intended for children. But the Bright Starts comment states that they were intended for adults only. I’m curious to know which it is.

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  18. A serious error in judgment. Ya think? OMG I hope somebody was fired over this.

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  20. Lynne says:

    I’m not 100% sure I get the pearl clutching over this one. Was this company handing these out to kids at the BlogHer conference? I think the answer is no and therefore I’m of the opinion that it was a gimmick designed by adults for adults. If a blogger chose to take them home and give them to their kids – that’s on them. From what I’ve read Bright Starts created these for adults. As long as the recipients chose not to pass them along to their kids – like they would any of the other umpteen items they received as “swag” – then I don’t see the problem.

    • Morgan says:

      I’m not sure I get what’s worth defending here. (Incidentally, I also own no pearls.)

      Why make it easier for kids to get pills confused with candy? I certainly didn’t hand them over to my kid, I’m not powerless against swag or toddlers. It’s just unnecessary, potentially confusing, and as we’ve seen so many times in the past, oversight does not a bad parent make. The item was in an envelope emblazoned with the logo of a baby toy company — it wouldn’t be unfathomable for someone to think it was intended for their kid.

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  22. Faerie Barista says:

    Oh my goodness…..

  23. Last Mom says:

    I can’t believe I missed all of this until today…a week after the conference closed. What a huge miss. (And I didn’t get the email from them about the mistake.)

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