Sunday, February 1, 2009

Finding Safe Toys For Kids

With mounting concerns over lead and formaldehyde in toys, parents are understandably questioning the seemingly innocent toys they use to educate and entertain their kids.

Any solid wood toy is preferable to one made with pressed woods, which may contain formaldehyde. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, which ensures that the wood came from responsibly managed forests. Also look for wood toys finished with natural oils, such as linseed, walnut and beeswax. Other plant-based oils, such as those made from citrus, can have strong odors that can irritate a young child's sensitive airways, and because ingestion of mineral oil has been associated with inhibited lung functioning and lipoid pneumonia, wood toys finished with mineral oil are not recommended for children under the age of three, who frequently put toys in their mouths.

Cotton, Hemp, Wool:
Opt for organic cotton (grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), unbleached cotton (free of dioxin-producing chlorine), hemp and wool colored with low-impact, colorfast dyes. Wool is naturally fire-resistant--yet another reason to choose it. Also, look for fleece dolls and stuffed animals made from post-consumer recycled materials.

Read shopping tips and view some toy ideas.

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