A recent report revealed the danger of chemicals called phthalates which exist in plastic. Children’s toys made from plastic are particularly dangerous as the phthalates are released from the plastic if children puts the toy in their mouth.
The chemical is known to be so dangerous, linked to cancer and kidney damage that manufacturers are no longer allowed to include it in teething toys for babies. The Swedish and Danish Governments have also recently passed legislation restricting the use of PVC in toys made for babies and children.
With these problems in mind, it is a good idea for parents to research toys that are made from organic, non-harmful materials, and encourage their children to play with these instead.
The Organic Toy Market
This is a less developed section of the burgeoning organics marketplace, but there are initiatives and producers who make and craft toys for kids made from organic materials. Wood, free of non-organic and lead-filled varnishes, is one relatively safe material, as long as it is not soft and easy to splinter. Most kids quite naturally put things they find in their mouths -from food to earth to the toys they play with. Most child psychologists agree that is a natural part of exploring the world they are growing up in.
It is the job of responsible parents to protect their child from any potential dangers, and one of the most overlooked is danger from the toys their kids have lying around the house. Choking is a much-highlighted danger, and partly due to effective labelling on toys, parents know to look out for small parts of toys that could be swallowed. But the dangers to children from chemicals leaching out from continued sucking and handling is less well known, and as the health effects are less immediate (than swallowing something), most parents understandably overlook this.
As mentioned, good quality wood, from organically farmed resources makes for a good material for children’s toys. Wood is all about touch, and colour, so look out for manufacturers that design toys incorporating these factors into the nature of the toy. Jigsaws and puzzles are available made from organically produced wood, via organic shops and online. As wood is such a scarce resource, and recent reports indicate that due to over-felling, the world’s precious rainforests could have completely disappeared within 100 years (which is an appalling legacy to leave to the next generation), it is important to check that as well as being organic, any wood products are sourced from responsible stewardship felling schemes.
Cotton and Wool
A second material that should be looked for on the organic toy market is cotton, and wool. Both of these can be organically grown, and produced without harmful chemicals and dyes, and then made into or incorporated into many types of toys for all ages of babies and children. From comforters and dolls, through to coverings and balls, cotton and wool can replace many of the artificial fabrics that dominate the world today.
Parents should always check how the material has been produced, as material always ends up in a young child’s mouth, and only the safest, organically-produced material should ever go in there!