Before you had children of your own you likely gave little thought as to how toys are made or what they are made of. But these are the little things that you start stressing over once you do have kids of your own. Safety is your priority, and finding the right toys as your child grows up can be difficult. If you haven’t been already, start reading the labels of each and every toy you buy for your child. As you start to look into what toys contain toxins, you might have a hard time finding a toy that your child likes, and is safe to play with. However, with the right tips, you will be able to find a great toy. Choosing the right toys may take more time, but in the long run, can provide a healthier and happier lifestyle for your kids!
Toxins We Don’t Think About
While there are plenty of areas in the home to be child-proofed, it’s important to focus on other areas that might be hazardous to children. Toxins in toys, such as lead paint and fire retardants are well known, but unknown toxins like asbestos can be even more harmful due to their effects being lesser known. Asbestos is known to be found in older homes most often from before the 1980s. While it has been banned from home construction, it has worked its way into other items still used today. Talcum powder is often used in kids’ makeup, but can be contaminated with asbestos due to talcum and asbestos deposits being found close together.
More recently, asbestos was actually found in children’s crayons, which can often be ingested by kids at a young age. Any exposure to asbestos can actually cause cancer known as mesothelioma, which forms in the lining of the lungs. This can look like fatigue, coughing, or even loss of appetite. Asbestos related diseases also include lung and laryngeal cancer, even if the exposure is limited. Because of this, it’s vital to check ingredient lists and consumer safety sites.
The Positives to Organic Toys
Organic toys, such as those made with all-natural wood and cotton, lead to healthier growth and development for children of any age. You don’t want to diminish their creativity at any point, and sometimes this can be done best with items with fewer bells and whistles.
Playing with simpler, handmade toys might even spark your child’s creativity to make their own toys. You could take this spark and turn it into a creative family activity where you and your child make homemade toys to play with.
But at the end of the day, safety is key here, and organic items have sturdier structures, with no plastic, no harmful dyes, and chemicals, and won’t break down over time. There is also the eco-friendly advantage of toys that can be easily recycled or passed down due to their sturdiness and basic styles. There are many benefits of organic toys, but in terms of ingestion at younger ages, toys without these chemicals and plastics can make a huge difference in your child’s health.
What About Toys You Already Have?
All this being said, family members, friends, and even you may have bought or been gifted toys that don’t fit this organic and non-toxic description. That’s okay! You can’t expect that in every scenario you’re doing absolutely perfectly to maintain your and your child’s health.
If toys do contain plastic, checking to see what plastics are recyclable is the first step. These can be added to your normal recycling if your city offers them. Some brands like Hasbro and LeapFrog offer recycling programs through Terracycle to help reduce waste as well. Take a look at these resources when starting the process of getting rid of toys your kids don’t use, as well as moving away from plastics that can harm them and the environment.
While there are plenty of things to worry about as a parent, it’s important to take the time to make sure your child is staying healthy and safe, even in your own living room. It may be easy to sit back and relax, but health hazards can be right under your nose if you’re not careful. Take the time to read ingredient lists, check consumer reports, and focus on safety even in the smaller things, markers and crayons included.