Coalitions in Action: Vermont Sets the Bar High for Inappropriate Toys

Over the years, companies have brought products into the marketplace that glamorize underage drinking. The latest product is a toy that is marketed to elementary school-age children, a dollhouse to fuel Barbie’s thirst for booze.

While the toy is not manufactured by or endorsed by Mattel, the company that brought Barbie to life, the hot pink play set is intended for the same sized dolls. The toy, “Bar Counter Playhouse,” is available on Amazon.com and Fishpond.com.

The Healthy Lamoille Valley coalition in Morrisville, Vermont, wrote a letter to Mattel to ask for their help in removing the product from the retailers’ websites. A representative responded and has brought the matter to the branding department’s attention. 

Jessica Bickford, coalition coordinator, told CADCA that the dollhouse and its miniature bottles of alcohol in the wet bar and mini-fridge encourage underage and binge drinking.

“The earlier kids are introduced to alcohol as a normal behavior, the greater the likelihood that they will experiment with it at a younger age.  The younger youth use alcohol, the greater the likelihood that they will have lifelong substance dependence.  Products that include alcohol into kids play set them up for future addictions. Items such as these are irresponsible and put kids in harm’s way,” Bickford said.

The items are still featured on both e-commerce sites, but are listed as “unavailable” for purchase at this time.

Has your coalition become aware of products that normalize underage drinking or substance use? Let CADCA know at vcarlborg@cadca.org.