Natural Baby Toys, Creating Safe and Fun Items for your Child

February 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Go Green Baby

For a baby to learn about the world, he or she is going to do a lot of exploration. Choosing natural baby toys is one way a parent can do something special to support curiosity safely. Since babies do not walk for about a year, they use their mouths and hands to learn about objects. Touching and tasting teaches a baby, things such as shape, texture, taste, and even sound. Obviously, it is perfectly natural and healthy for a baby to show interest in various things, which is why the toy industry is a multi-billion dollar empire. When shopping for toys, parents typically look for items that have development benefits to encourage both mental and physical growth.

As you look around, you will be amazed at the sheer number of toys designed specifically for the growth and development of children of all ages. One of the best choices you can make is by going with natural baby toys. Some of the more common materials used for toys such as this includes wool, bamboo, wood, and even cotton.

The problem with conventional toys is that the majority are made with plastic, which has been shown in recent years to contain harmful ingredients. A great example is polyvinyl chloride or PVC, which manufacturers used to create a flexible and soft toy. Another concern is phthalates, which are also dangerous. Tons of research has been conducted and the results confirm that some types of phthalates cause cancer, as well as damage to the liver and kidneys. Although these materials are harmful to boys, they are especially dangerous to girls, affecting not only reproductive organs but also premature breast growth. For children who have asthma, breathing in the chemicals is very bad, worsening the condition. Keep in mind that while PVC alone is not harmful, when this material is disposed of, dioxins are produced, which are the most toxic substance known.

Many toys on the market are made from cotton, which also put a baby at risk for health problems, again making natural baby toys a preferred choice. The reason is that cotton fields are sprayed with synthetic fertilizers and dangerous pesticides that are then incorporated into toy fibers. Sadly, more than 50% of pesticides still being used on cotton fields actually come with a label from the EPA or Environmental Protection Agency that reads “probable carcinogen”.

Babies notoriously put toys of all types directly in the mouth or they hold soft toys close to the body. Obviously, unless you use natural baby toys, your child is being exposed to toxins and chemicals that put him or her at great risk for immediate or long-term health problems. For this reason, we strongly encourage all parents to go with natural baby toys that are 100% safe.

Some Great Options for Natural Baby Toys

Instead of choosing toys made with harmful ingredients and substances, natural baby toys are made from things such as bamboo or wood. Not only are these materials strong and durable, they are also safe. Because both bamboo and wood last longer than plastic toys, there is less need for replacement. Many types of wood come from forests developed specifically to support a green environment. For bamboo, which is actually a type of grass, this material is harvested so no trees or grasses are destroyed. Once bamboo grass is cut down, it can grow to full maturity in only four years. Another tip when buying natural baby toys is to avoid anything that has been dyed, stained, or painted. Now, toys made from wood and bamboo cost more but they are worth the investment. You can look online for discount stores or even shop at thrift stores or neighborhood garage sales.

As far as natural baby toys made from fabric, the goal is to choose only those that have never been treated with any type of chemical. If you are creative and like to sew, you might even consider making your child toys. Dolls and stuffed animal patterns are easy to find and most are easy to make. All you need is an organic fabric such as wool or cotton, and with a little work, you will have several new natural baby toys.