When we talk about choosing safe toys our mind usually goes to things like age appriopriate, choking hazards, sharp parts, etc. Though those are basic concerns, it shouldn’t stop there. Another aspect to consider is what goes into making the toys that our children are playing with. We want our children to light up during the holidays, like we rememeber doing as a child, so keeping back their favorites just won’t do, but there are things we can do to help choose safer toys, and encourage our families to do so as well! If you have family that will be buying presents, try talking with them – not at them. As parents we have an overwhelming urge to hover, protect and stand our ground when it comes to our children, but remember that these family memebers love them too and they also want what’s best for them – reaching them in that space may leave everyone happy.
You may want to try one or more of the steps below when talking to family and friends about buying safe toys for your kids.
- You don’t have to go into crazy details, but explain your concerns over the rising number of safety recalls, chemical concerns, labor ethics, etc.
- Give them some gift ideas from your child’s interests, or your little one’s wishlist if they have one.
- If they’re independent shoppers, try giving them a list of trusted stores to shop from.
- Also great for independent shoppers is a list of trusted brands so that they can shop where they choose.
- Ask them to look for labels that say things like Phthalate Free, PVC Free, BPA Free, Paraben Free (body products can make fun gifts too!), etc. if they are unsure if the item they are buying is safe.
Trying to avoid harmful chemicals like BPA, Lead, Mercury, Phthalates, PVC and flame retardants can be complicated, but the idea here is to choose brands that you trust and like the last tip, look for labels that tell you what they don’t have in them, and if you are more familiar with labels – what they do have in them.
- Choose shops that are known for carrying fun, unique and safe toys. Consider shopping with the shops below, or at ones with similar values for stress-free gifting!
- When possible, shop brands that you know to be safer options. This list is by no means all encompassing, but it is a great start!
- Plan Toys
- P’kolino (they have the most awesome xylophone out this year!)
- Green Toys
- Tegu (awesome magnetic wooden blocks)
- Avoid obvious concerns like PVC (plastic #3) and BPA (plastic #7) – especially on anything that could potentially go into a mouth – this means play food too!
- Try purchasing toys made from unpainted wood or natural fabrics. Painted woods can be okay, just choose from a brand you trust and if you are unsure, try a Google search on the brand and lead paint.
These are just a few basic tips to get you started and help keep toxins out of the toy box. If you have any favorite safe toys please share them below!