written by: Lindsay Evans•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 7/6/2011
Avoid toxins by steering clear of cheap plastic baby toys in favor of baby toys made from natural materials. Here are several tried-and-true favorites sure to keep your baby engaged.
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Toys to Avoid
As any parent knows, baby toys are destined for the mouth. Babies chew on toys in preparation for teething and to explore the feel of the toys. Despite this fact, an overwhelming amount of toys marketed for babies are made of materials that contain toxins or covered with toxic paint.
When shopping for a baby toy, look for toys made of natural materials. Avoid toys made of soft plastic, as the plastic likely contains phthalates, a group of chemicals with known health hazards. Several types of phthalates have been banned from use in children's toys in the European Union. Although the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has restricted the use of phthalates in pacifiers, soft rattles, and tethers since 1999, other soft plastic toys destined for your baby's mouth may still contain phthalates.
Another common source of toxins in baby toys is paint containing lead. According to a story in the New York Times, paint containing lead is simply cheaper than lead-free paint and is often preferred to keep costs down, although restrictions do exist regarding it's use in toys. Most mass manufactured toys are produced in China, where enforcement of regulations are lax. Even if the toy is not involved in a recall, it may contain lead paint - especially in the case of toys for older children and children's jewelry.
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Best Non Toxic Toys
Toys made from untreated wood, organic cotton, and other natural materials are the best choice for your baby's health. Choose toys made in the USA or Europe for the highest standards of quality. These suggestions will help ensure your child's toys are both engaging and non toxic.
Babies can't resist adorable Rainbow Baby Teethers, a small soft cotton terry baby doll holding a natural beechwood ring. The tethers are made in Germany and available in yellow, blue, pink. Natural wood rattles are perfect for entertaining and teething. Check out the naturally finished Ring Rattle and Cherry Peg Rattle or the brightly colored Clown Rattle or Moby Rattle, all available at the online store Rosie Hippo.
Planet Happy Kids has a wide selection of highly-rated non toxic toys for babies and children. Best picks among their inventory include a Pull-Along Snail from Plan Toys as well as the Organic Mom & Baby Bath Mitts and Organic Button Bunnies, both from Rich Frog.
If you are looking for a natural alternative to a standard activity gym for your baby, Happy Green Baby carries a natural wood activity gym for babies featuring four natural fiber soft, plush animals for your baby to grab.