Toy X-Ray Machine for All Too Real Pretend Play

Photo of the Scan-it security metal detector.

Grandma is flying up next month to visit when our baby boy is born. Naturally, I wanted to get my 3-year-old daughter jazzed for the visit. That’s why we bought her a Scan-It Toy X-Ray Machine.

Okay, not really. I mean about buying it. The toy itself is real. No, seriously. It’s for sale on Amazon, and as we all know, Amazon is the gold standard for distinguishing reality from a psychotic break.

What It Is

It’s a fake toy x-ray machine that simulates the real deal with a functioning conveyer belt that “wooshes” items past a viewing window, forward or reverse.

A metal detector under the conveyor makes the toy beep and light up an LED in the presence of metallic objects sized 1/32″x1″ or larger (“under ideal conditions”). The assembled toy is 11″x12″x15″ and requires 6 AA batteries.

Why it exists

According to a news release, eight years ago a mother going through divorce proceedings was “confronted” with her children’s possessions being searched daily at a courthouse, leaving them “understandably intimidated.”

So she invented a courtroom playset complete with lawyer and judge dress-up clothes and a light-up gavel. No, not really. She devised a toy that “makes the security screening process easy to understand and maybe even fun.” It’s an odd admission in the toy marketing world — this toy is “maybe even fun.” Woo hoo!

Photo of two kids playing with the Scan-it security metal detector.

Why it won’t sell

Problem #1: The machine does not detect breast milk, baby food or plastic sippy cups.

Problem #2: When it comes to pretend play, kids mimic what they see in real life. Today it’s a metal detector. Tomorrow it’s strip searches and locking a playmate alone in a room.

Problem #3: Cowboys and Indians. Cops and Robbers. TSA/NSA/FBI/CIA and Terrorist Sleeper Cell?

Problem #4: Will Kitty’s metal ID tag set off the alarm? How about Kitty? I know, the hamster! Hey Jimmy, see if your head fits.

Oh, but seriously, I’m done talking. Here’s the part where you write me an angry comment about this being a reasonable toy and how I’m an insensitive narrow-minded cad. Don’t I know that TSA screeners and courthouse guards have kids too, dammit?

I will admit that the mom-inventor was right. Security screening is scary business.

The box of the Scan-it security metal detector.

See also:

[X-ray link via YoKiddo!]


14 Responses to “Toy X-Ray Machine for All Too Real Pretend Play”

  1. thordora says:

    that…..there really are no words for that….

    February 22nd, 2008 at 5:27 am

  2. Allison (CodeCrafter) says:

    It reminds me of the easy bake oven I had as a kid (70′s The Betty Crocker edition) where you shoved the cake in one side and eventually out the other side.

    February 22nd, 2008 at 7:07 am

  3. Erica says:

    Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously? Sometimes talking to your kids to prepare them for something can be enough; acting everything out isn’t necessary (or accurate, or best for them, or realistic since the real thing is almost always different or scarier than the pretend version). I really hope this doesn’t sell well, since I agree with you that it’s more dangerous than smart. I’d say this is one of the dumbest toys I’ve ever seen.

    February 22nd, 2008 at 7:12 am

  4. Jennifer says:

    Dumb, useless, and I can’t even imagine kids wanting to play with it even if they had it. Really, I don’t think there is any worry in it selling well, if at all.

    February 22nd, 2008 at 7:44 am

  5. adrienne says:

    I think it someone should contact the Easy Bake people. A combination security x-ray and oven would be a great space-saver for families in small apartments.

    I don’t know, didn’t this bring back a flood of childhood memories from playing that ever exciting game of pretend airport? Checking in at the ticket desk, then waiting in the crowded terminal for the gate to be opened and your row to be called, disembarking, and then (oh joy of joys) waiting for your pretend luggage to be returned on the imaginary luggage carousel?

    The thrill of it all…

    February 22nd, 2008 at 8:00 am

  6. Jessica G. says:

    Perfect. I need this. My 11 month old is always trying to sneak a switchblade or other concealed weapon in to her sister’s bedroom. I was going to start to wand my kids at the door but this might be a non-threatening and “almost fun” alternative. Empty your pockets kids! I hope they come out with a pretend drug test kit (great for potty training) and Interrogation Techniques for Tots.

    February 22nd, 2008 at 9:30 am

  7. Diana (Holes in my Shiny Veneer) says:

    This is a little too weird for me. What will some mom inventor come up with next to prepare children for real-world experiences? I don’t even want to think of the possibilities– or what that aisle at the toy store would do to an unsuspecting parent! (“Mommy, why does that box have a picture of …?”)

    February 22nd, 2008 at 9:47 am

  8. Taryn S says:

    I just think thats a strange toy. Do people really buy it?

    February 22nd, 2008 at 12:27 pm

  9. JMo says:

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention – reading the “user review” on Amazon just made my day.

    February 22nd, 2008 at 1:30 pm

  10. Cindi Hoppes says:

    Hello, Even though I think we live in a rather crazy world, kids need to be kids! Whether it is pushing too much education on them too soon or giving them realistic silly toys! They will experience this all too soon. The mother going through the divorce should have done her best explanation of happenings! It doesn’t take a toy. Kids are resilient. Let them be…..Cindi

    February 23rd, 2008 at 4:41 pm

  11. Bee says:

    Hey, if it sells, I’ll try “My Little CCTV” as an idea.

    February 24th, 2008 at 12:19 pm

  12. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    As someone who got 2/3 of the way through the process before becoming a screener. (By the time they called me back for the last step, I had gotten another job. They took too long!) I think its a neat idea. Not for everyone, sure. But I also don’t think its a matter of “Never ever make a toy like that”

    February 25th, 2008 at 8:32 am

  13. Carrie says:

    Ditto on the above comments, but I can imagine that if your mom or dad was an airport screener, this might be of interest.

    February 26th, 2008 at 11:55 pm

  14. Darby says:

    Ummm…no. Not even for the kids whose parents are airport screeners. I’m a lawyer, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give my kids some stiff figurine attached to a briefcase muttering “blah blah blah” over and over.

    February 28th, 2008 at 8:54 am