It’s a nightmare scenario for any parent - your child’s favourite toy has gone missing, prompting anything from heartbreak to temper tantrums.
In fact, one in four parents surveyed said it would be such a family truama that they would rather lose an essential item such as a smartphone, wallet or house keys.
Now, in a quirky marketing campaign, a food firm has come up with a technological approach to solving the problem - a toy-tracking chip.
Richmond Sausages is giving away 200,000 of the tracking devices in its Sausage & Chip campaign.
During the research, parents were asked to give details of what their child’s reaction would be if or when a toy was lost and it was estimated that 75 per cent of children would be distressed, of which one in five would be described as ‘extremely distressed’ – meaning long-term temper tantrums and a prolonged mourning period. Only three per cent said their child would not notice.
Given this emotional bond, the lengths parents go to prevent or cover up the lost-toy scenario can be extreme. Just under a third of parents (32 per cent) ban the cuddly toy from leaving the house, while a further 15 per cent confess to having bought multiple versions of the favourite toy to ensure a ‘body double’ can be rolled out if all is lost.
Professor Bruce Hood, a cognitive scientist, said: “We know that children form a strong bond with their childhood toys, this is important, but loss can also cause extreme distress.
“The toy-tracking chip that Richmond has developed will minimise situations where a child might loose their toy and ultimately, lower the amount of anxiety from parents around losing a toy.”
Sarah Davies, senior brand manager, said: “The research we have collected demonstrates that childhood toys are so important to families, that many parents genuinely consider them to be part of the family, rather than an unconscious add-on.
“We want to help parents keep the whole family together so they can spend more time having fun together, which is why we’ve created our first ever toy-tracking chip.
“This has been designed to save the tears and heartache and with so many new toys arriving at Christmas it’s the perfect time to unveil it.
“Our chip makes sure that if you lose a toy, you are able to find it quickly and with minimal fuss.”