All of the toy recalls in the past few years, over things like cadmium and lead, can leave parents feeling somewhat overwhelmed when figuring out what to give kids for the holidays. I mean, those handmade wooden toys from Germany? Sure, that would be nice. But then there’s the holiday budget, which would leave room for a marble run and, perhaps, one and a half silk scarves. Won’t cut it!
But the LA Times has come up with a few guidelines on buying safe toys. Here are the basics, but the whole article gives you a better idea of why.
1. Avoid buying costume jewelry. Period. (My tip: mention this to the grandparents!)
2. Avoid vinyl products (labeled as PVC).
3. Don’t buy brightly colored plastics when purchasing items that a young child might put in his or her mouth. (Wow. That’s huge and rules out, well, a lot of items). If that leaves you hopeless, read No. 4
4. Check out items on HealthyStuff.org and GoodGuide.com. That should help you get more confidence in what you do buy.
5. When buying textile items, avoid “azo dyes.”
Unfortunately, since these [azo dyes] chemicals are not regulated, the best way to avoid them is to select toys made of wood and natural products, or toys that bear eco-labels, which are becoming more widespread.
There are also the choking hazards warnings, but experts say to also look out for pieces that are just slightly bigger than regulation choking hazards.
I find avoiding choking hazards has become particularly challenging with more than one kid. Each subsequent child of mine has been exposed to gobs more choking hazards than my first and I’ll admit we’ve become a little less stringent.
What about you? What’s off your list this year for kids’ presents?
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