Seeing a child’s eyes light up as they receive the perfect present on Christmas morning is pure magic. Of course, we always want to give our children exactly what they want for Christmas, but it is our responsibility to keep them safe. This year as you shop, keep in mind that an alarming amount of children’s toys contain harmful chemical components. Many popular kids toys contain chemicals like lead, BPA, chlorine, and even arsenic, among other harsh additives.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is responsible for ensuring dangerous toys are not on shelves in the United States. However, instead of checking toys before they are released for sale, the CPSC only takes toys off the market once complaints of injury or death have been made. This means that although toymakers in the United States may follow protocol and avoid toxic chemicals, foreign manufacturers that adhere to much looser standards may still be able to get their products into the United States. Parents may not know their child has a toxic toy until it’s too late.
Choosing Safe Toys for the Children
Kids are hands-on explorers, and you can rest assured any toy they fall in love with will be manhandled, chewed on, and cuddled for hours on end. If these toys contain chemical traces they can enter kids’ delicate tissues and cause a host of problems. Phthalates, for example, have been found in a wide variety of household items including some kids toys. Phthalates have been linked to problems like asthma, neurological issues, and even cancer.
Looking for a few key indicators on a toy’s label can help eliminate the possibility of accidentally gifting a toy with these dangerous elements. When picking out a toy, look for organic-made products, choose toys made from plant-based materials to minimize possible allergies and irritation, and look for the Fair Trade label to be sure the toy was ethically created with the environment in mind. These factors can help eliminate any risk of the child being exposed to toxic agents through their toys.
Organic Materials for Maximum Cuddles
We have all heard of the importance of eating organic foods to make sure we aren’t ingesting any toxic substances, like pesticides or preservatives. The same principle applies when it comes to the materials used to make toys, or the fabrics used to make items like kids clothing or blankets. Since these items will be in close contact with the child’s skin, (or in the case of toddlers, inevitably in their mouths,) any toxic chemical traces can transfer to their delicate tissues.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has set out a series of mandatory criteria that manufacturers must meet to be considered either organic or made with organic materials. These criteria include restrictions on toxic chemical use in production of the textiles, as well as evaluation of biodegradability. No matter what material a toy is made from, be it fabric, wood, or even recycled plastics, there are all kinds of organic options now available.
Plant-Based Fabrics and Dyes to Reduce Possible Irritation
Sticking to all natural, plant-based products is another great way to reduce the risk of irritants making their way into your child’s new toy. While synthetic fibers became popular with manufacturers because they are cheaper to produce, natural fibers have been making a comeback.
Natural materials like silk, cotton and wool are hypoallergenic and antibacterial, which makes them perfect for items like toys, blankets and clothing for kids. These eco-friendly materials are also long lasting and durable, necessary attributes if you want them to survive a toddler’s daily play. You can also look for toys and fabric products that have been naturally dyed using plant materials, like our new line of bears dyed with all-natural herbal dyes.
Fair Trade Toys Prioritize Smiles Instead of Suffering
Like other mass-produced goods, many popular toys are made in factories focused on maximizing profit at all costs. The result is a cheaply made toy coated in harsh chemicals, often created by underpaid employees working in dangerous conditions. The chemicals used can have damaging and lasting effects on both the children who will play with them as well as the workers exposed to the chemicals during production.
For example, certain flame retardant chemicals such as chlorinated tris have been banned from products in the US after scientists found they could likely cause cancer after repeated exposure. These chemicals are unfortunately still leaking into our homes through many products, toys included. Choosing toys that are made according to Fair Trade standards ensures the workers that make them are not exposed to harmful chemicals on the job. They also greatly reduce the risk that toxic agents were involved in production, keeping them from ending up in the hands or mouth of a child later on.
Looking for a Toy That is Organic, Hypoallergenic and Fair Trade? Let Bears for Humanity Help!
It can be overwhelming to check each special kid off your holiday gift list with a present that they will love and you can feel good about, too. Bears for Humanity is here to help! We offer an adorable array of plush animals that are made with organic materials, utilize plant-based dyes, and are created according to Fair Trade standards.Have your own store or children’s line? Bears for Humanity also offers custom-made toys and apparel so you can design your own safe, non-toxic, and Fair Trade plushies and clothing. Get in touch with us for details!