If I had to do it all over again, I would ban battery operated toys from the house. First of all, I believe that the battery-operated stuff stifles and limits imagination. Also, all of these batteries are bad for the environment. They leach mercury in the landfills and they are supposed to be disposed of “properly” whatever that means. It seems like I am replacing batteries in some toy every week! I am disgusted by the amount of toys that require batteries. For example, my children have the Little People Airplane. It is very cute and the kids love it. However, it makes a “whoosh” sound of the airplane, and the pilot “talks.” Whatever happened to the children who hold up the plane and make their own “whooshing” sound? I want my children to talk for the pilot. I should have given it to them w/out the batteries and they would have never known the difference. Now, if the batteries run out, they think it is “broken” and won’t play with it. Also, I got, what I thought , was an old-fashioned pony head on a stick, only to find that if you squeezed his ear, he would say, “nay.” I took the batteries right out of that one! Even puzzles have batteries now. We have a wooden puzzle with the numbers 1-20. When you pick up the number, a voice tells you what the number is called. We also have another one with animals. If you pick up the animal, it makes its own sound. Of course, I did not buy these for my children. They were gifts from well-meaning friends. My daughter’s bracelet even has batteries! It is a Sleeping Beauty bracelet and it flashes pink lights at the touch of a button. As you probably already know, batteries should not be thrown away with your regular trash. I heard that Walgreens Pharmacies will take old batteries, but I haven’t brought any of them in yet. I also read that if you seal them up in a plastic bag (another landfill menace) there won’t be any leaching. I’m not so sure if that one is true. Regardless, if you have the opportunity, and you are just now having children, ban the batteries! It is too late for our family. Save yourselves!