After doing research for the post, Clean Toys, Green Toys and Toys Made Close to Home (highlighting chemicals in toys, what to watch for and what to avoid, and safe options), I have become so much more aware of what my kids are playing in/with/on. Now that it’s summer, I thought I’d revisit the safe option portion.
Kiddie pools are a fabulous way for toddlers and babies to play around in the water. The scaled down sizes are inviting to children, making it a non-intimidating way for them to learn to enjoy water play. When choosing a pool, the harder the plastic, the safer the pool, as far as chemicals go. Safer plastics are plastics with resin codes #2, #4 and #5. Plastics leach chemicals (the softer the plastic, the more they leach), and though many companies working with plastic have eliminated BPA, other chemicals (like EA) are being used instead, and they leach too. EA is a hormone disrupter, just as BPA is. In addition, make sure that the pool is PVC (vinyl) free. The bad news is that most kiddie pools are made of PVC. The good news is that the safest option out there also seems to be the cheapest in most cases – the old fashioned shaped ones like the one in the picture above. We got ours at Toys”R”Us. It’s made in the USA, is constructed from high density polyethylene (#2) and was priced under $10.00. I’ve also seen that sold at some hardware stores. Step 2 makes one out of a harder plastic as well (pictured below).
What you use to fill the pool is also important since HelathyStuff.org came out with their findings on the safety of garden hoses (many of them contain lead, along with other harmful metals and chemicals that are being found in the water that comes from them). For non-toxic hose options, see my post: Garden Hoses, A Potential Health Risk.
Independent testing shows that toys sold on the shelves across America contain toxins such as lead, BPA, cadmium, PVC, phthalates and formaldehyde. I previously discussed the dangers of these toxins, as well as how they are ending up in our children’s toys, in my article, Clean Toys, Green Toys and Toys Made Close to Home.
When it comes to water toys, it’s important to make sure that they are free from chemicals and heavy metals, as these toys in particular often end up in children’s mouths, or with children trying to drink pool water from them (as much as we try to deter them from doing so!); thus the reason why I would like to share some of my children’s favorite water toys with you.
These boats are made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic milk containers that save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are free of BPA, PVC, phthalates and external coatings. They are packaged using only recycled and recyclable materials and printed with soy inks. The best part is that they do not harbor mold. These boats open up for fast drying and easy cleaning.
These can be used both in and out of the bath. Though they are marketed for ages 10 months and up, they are not just for babies. My almost 5 year old loves to play with them, as does my almost 3 year old daughter.
Because they are magnetic, kids can use their imaginations to build all sorts of things. These are also great in the tub, since they will stick to the sides, which the kids love. According to Geomag’s website, they are manufactured in Switzerland and adhere to the European Safety standards, which are stricter than America’s. The animal shapes are made from rubber and the magnetic pieces are incased in a hard plastic.
This is another one of my children’s favorite water toys. “North Star Toys are made from sustainably-managed wood or wood scraps from local cabinet makers. The 32-year-old company assembles all of its toys in New Mexico, USA, which runs on 100% renewable energy. Toys are finished with a food-grade mineral oil and paints are certified lead-free and nontoxic” (The Independent). Their lumber comes from the US, and their parts follow the federal and voluntary guidelines governing small parts, sharp points, and chemical make-up. Their toy finishes are safe, as the toys are simply coated with a non-toxic, food grade mineral oil which meets or exceeds requirements by the USFDA, US Pharmacopeia, US Dept. of Agriculture and is certified Kosher and Pareve (North Star Toys).
You can order the Busy Boat direct from the North Star Toys website. On a side note, the toy makers themselves are wonderful people who truly care about each and every toy they make and the children that will be playing with them. They take care in the packaging of each toy, sending a thank you note and wrapping it special. In this day in age, that says a lot!
Made in Mexico, “Sprig toys are made of Sprigwood, a durable child safe bio composite material made from recycled wood and reclaimed plastic”(Amazon). You can visit their website or find their toys on Amazon.
Have more safe options to share? Please let us know in the comment area!
Oh, and while playing out in the sun, if you don’t have much shade, don’t forget the sunscreen. Like so many things, just because something says that it’s safe and natural doesn’t mean it actually is. After much research, I use Poofy Organic’s sunscreen. Here’s the ingredients: Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, Organic Beeswax, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Camellia Oil, Organic Cocoa Butter, Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Rosemary Extract, Organic Eucalyptus Oil, and Natural Vitamin E. I find it rubs in better and stays on longer than Badger. I stock up because shipping is the same on one as it is on 2 or 3.
*Author’s Note: I often share products that I love and use with my own family. When applicable, I link it to my affiliate status with Amazon as a way to make a few dollars to help keep this website running. Thank you for purchasing through my links!