You probably thought it would be easy to find “good” toys for your little ones. After all, most things you buy at the store must be made of materials that are safe to put in their mouths, right? Otherwise they would not be available for sale. After you get over the varying degrees of shock caused by the realization that this is not the case and that toys are generally found unsafe only if they have lead or similar highly toxic materials or present a choking hazard.
If you look more closely, you’ll find that most toys are made in China. But isn’t there lots of pollution in China? Bad factory conditions? How do we know what materials are used in the manufacturing process? Even if the product is certified organic, how do we know for sure that it is?
Then you look at the materials used to make those stacking cups, sorting shapes, musical toys, or plush animals. So many of them are made of hard plastic or questionable fabrics. Are they harmful? Your average musical toy or play computer from Toys R Us won’t tell you the kind of plastic they are made of. What about the paint or color they use to make them so attractive to little ones? And what about the fabric colors used in the plush toys? Where did the cotton or polyester come from?
Indeed, when you first think about having a baby, many of these things may not come to mind. And then you start planning and thinking, and quickly discover that what you have been doing (such as eating well, moving to an organic diet, using eco-friendly and organic skin care products) may not be enough. For many of us this is a long process. While I did grow up eating mostly unprocessed foods (thank you, mom & grandma), when I went to college, I ate junk from the cafeteria, at least for the first couple of years. After all, I was sure no one would sell foods with additives or preservatives that could be harmful (I guess we are all naive at some point in our lives). I used awful shampoos, soap, skincare, and thought that conventional “luxury” brands were the way to go. It’s been many years since I wisened up and the learning process did not stop there.
When we were planning on our first child, I went crazy making sure that the environment for the baby would be the best I could make it (and that is how this site was born over 8 years ago, after 2 years of research). There was some information out there, in many different places from various sources. I filled notebook after notebook before I realized I should put it online.
Today, it is certainly much easier than it was even a decade ago to buy good eco-friendly and organic products for your kids. Whether you need eco-friendly & healthy toys or organic skin care, the choices are plentiful, in some way actually making it harder to find the right things.
Here are a few tips that I hope will help you with the process:
Healthy Baby Body Care and safe Baby Toys are very popular subjects and the ones I get the most questions and comments about. For Baby Body Care, opt for organic or certified natural whenever you can. It is important – I don’t subscribe to the opinion that a small, daily dose of petroleum jelly never hurt a baby’s bottom…. Make sure the product is made in the US or another country with high standards of certification (Canada, European Union, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand are good options). Organic products may be more expensive but you can often find good deals and sales both online and offline
For Baby Toys, going non-toxic and eco-friendly or organic is the way to go as your kids will be playing with them and putting them in their mouths and the like. Some types of toys may not be available in eco-friendly versions, but for those that are (plush toys, blocks, puzzles, cars and the like), opt for the safe ones even if they are a bit more expensive (just buy one less toy) or appear less “fun.” Check out Green Toys, for example – they make colorful stacking cups, construction trucks and many other toys right here in the USA using 100% recycled milk jugs that are made with safe plastic free of lead, BPA, and other toxins – Baby Earth and Giggle carry a good assortment of eco-friendly toys. Lego blocks, Kathe Kruse plush toys are just some of the other safe and healthy alternatives.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments!
This content was originally published here.