Do not let yourself be discouraged: there are plenty of safer options around and a big freebie too –– our imagination. Unfortunately, toy makers are so aggresive in their marketing, not just targeting the parents but the children too, that we often are left feeling that if we do not buy these toys for our children that we are somehow depriving them of the fun of growing up.
Well folks, it just ain’t true! Some of the best loved toys and games are often the homemade variety and whatever you are made to believe your children really wouldn’t miss half the toys they have these days.
The main concerns with toys these days and the reason for alot of the recalls is lead content in the colours, something you really don’t want your children in contact with. Children under the age of two are very susceptible to lead poisoning which has long term effects, and sadly children under two just love to suck and chew away on those brightly coloured toys. The best piece of advise here is keep your kids away from anything questionable and at the moment this seems to mean toys made in the far east.
This may seem like an impossible idea but there are more and more toys available that are made in europe to high safety standards with full transparency about the materials they use in production.
Haba toys, specialists in wooden toys, are available at Nuli, though this site is only available in Hebrew, Gal Golan the owner, is always very happy to answer any questions you may have in english. Another good place to do some safe toy shopping is Baby Teva, they have an online shop and a bricks and mortar shop in Tel Aviv and Haifa, again they have no problem assisting you in english. Baby Teva stocks Selecta toys, another very environmentally aware manufacturer who use sustainable sources of wood for their products and non-toxic colours with a beewax finish.
Lead, sadly is not the only threat to our childrens health where toys are concerned. Phthalates and bispenol-A are also big health worries and should be avoided, sadly they are found in many of the toys and products specifically designed for putting in your baby’s mouth. A few months ago bispenol- A was in the news alot concerning baby’s bottles and alot more of us became aware of manufacturers that promise BPA free products. The same goes for phthlates as awarenes increases more and more manufacturers are finding alternatives and labelling their products phthlate free. Though please check it out before you buy it.
I know buying Haba & Selecta toys are alot more expensive then plastic products but really at the end of the day you are buying a quality product and peace of mind, why take unneccessary risks with your childrens health when you do not have to. Below are some helpful hints and how to choose new toys:
How To Choose
- Do you really, really need to buy it.
- What does it offer your child.
- Where does it come from and who made it – big corporate factory versus locally made.
- What’s it made from – avoid PVC toys, cheap metal jewelry, childrens cosmetics and composite wooden toys.
- How long will it last.
- Always check safety standards.
- Be eco-friendly – how many airmiles does it have, if wooden does it come from sustainable resources and is it recyclable.
Some of the happiest hours for my daughter were spent in the kitchen pulling out pots and pans and banging around with wooden utensils and it didn’t cost me a dime!