Posts Tagged ‘toys’

Top picks for eco-friendly toys 2009

Here is my list of the best eco-friendly toys for Christmas 2009! No lead, no BPA, no PVC, no phthalates, or other toxic paints, plastics or glues. Many of these are toys we have purchased ourselves and they have been personally tested by my kids.

(imagines coming)

Birth+
Fish teetherby Natersutten Great traditional style cool-it teether, but free of all the yuckies like phthalates, PVC and BPA. Little bumps on the teether are soothing for your little teether.

Sophie the Giraffe Teether, by Vulli This is my favorite. It’s just adorable. Sophie is the perfect size for little hands and there are lots of teethable areas – legs, ears, neck. It’s made of all natural rubber and painted with food quality paint.

Veggies in a Crate, by Under the Nile This has always been one of my favorites. Made or organic Egyptian cotton and certified Fair Trade. There is also a fruit version.

Organic Plush Sleepytime Charlotte, by miYim  This adorable little bear stands 12” tall and is perfect for baby to cuddle. And you can feel good about it too – it’s made of organic materials, chemical-free and uses non-toxic dyes for color – just what you would want baby to snuggle with!

Eco-friendly plush giraffe, by Sevi

Hammer Balls, by Plan Toys Another favorite of my kids. I was skeptical at first, as this seemed too simplistic to be any fun, but it got rave reviews. And for great reason – it’s a fun twist to the traditional hammer and peg toy. Even at 6 months my son was using the little hammer to try and hit the balls. When you hit the balls, they roll out and across the room making it a fun game of chase for 2 – one to hit the balls and the other to catch them and put them back.

12 months+
Cone Sorting, by Plan Toys My son has been playing with this since 6 months and my 3 year old loves it as well. The colors are great and putting it together is lots of fun. My son has claimed the center piece as a teether.

Activity Walker, by EverEarth This great toy is as much fun stationary as it is in motion. There are many great toys on the front and sides of the walker for baby to explore even before he can walk. When he can walk with support, he can push the walker to his delight. The paint is water-based and lead-free; and the wood is from sustainable forests.

Dancing Alligator pull toy, by Plan Toys – Hands down, this is my 11 month old’s favorite toy. Again, my 3 year old loves this too. It’s as cute as it is fun. It dances as you pull it and makes a fun click-clack sound. It’s made of all natural rubber wood and all natural dyes.

Bingo Bed Hammer Toy, Holgate Toys  Non-toxic, rave reviews, wood, time-tested and heirloom quality. What’s not to love? One thing I really like about the Bingo Bed compared to other hammer and peg toys, is with this one, the pegs are different sizes, making it a little more challenging.

Ring-A-Thing, by HABA This toy is a great first game to help your toddler learn colors, sizes and how to take turns. There are 3 basic game ideas and is appropriate for 1-3 players.

Toddler +
Dolphin Adventure Explorer Boatby Sprig Toys My son is getting this for Christmas. The boat is safe for land and water play. Even though this is made from wood, it’s very lightweight Sprig wood.

Deluxe Wooden Railway Set and the activity table (sold separately), by Melissa and Doug While this is not as high quality as the Plan Toys train sets, it’s still a great set, it’s available locally at Smith’s Variety and you cannot beat the price!

Eco-friendly handy doctor set by Wonderworld

Christina’s Kitchen, by Nova Natural Toys  – Forget the kids, I want this for me! This all wood kitchen is so simple, yet adorable! It has a stainless steel sink that can be removed, 4 burners, an oven, cabinet space and even counter space. All your little cook needs is the accessories. They also have a matching wooden fridge. Nova Natural Toys and Crafts are my new favorite. Great quality, natural, non-toxic toys and crafts that you can feel good about giving and receiving!

Dish Set, by Green Toys Inc.  This is new for 2009 and goes great with the award winning Green Toys tea set  and the new Chef Set. This is a great company as they use plastic milk jugs to make their toys and they are manufactured in California!

Green Toddler Picnic Table, by Tick-n-Thistle Every child needs a picnic table and this one is as eco-friendly as they come. They do not use treated wood, formaldehyde glues or paint. They also have many sizes of this table for kids up to roughly age 12.

Butterfly Alphabet puzzle, by imagiPLAY This wood puzzle is perfect for little ones to learn the alphabet, letter recognition and a great way to learn puzzles. Once the puzzle is complete, you can stand it up and brighten up any room! imagiPLAY wooden toys are made from beech wood and use lead-free paint.

Skuut balance bike  What a really great idea! The Skuut Balance bike does not have pedals or chains. Kids use their feet to learn to move the bike. Teaches natural motion to move the bike and a much easier way to learn to balance on two wheels.

Discover Rig, by Sprig Toys  I am so impressed with Sprig Toys. The quality is great, and of course, they are eco-friendly! I just LOVE this ATV-style vehicle. It’s as cute as it is fun and green! It has lights and sounds, but is battery-free (something any parent will love!). Sprig Toys are made of sprig wood (plastic bottles/milk jugs and reclaimed saw dust), yet are surprisingly lighter than you expect. Pair it up with the Side Kick Vehicle and Rally Racer  for endless fun.

Mini It’s Me Doll, by Kathy Kruse Kathy Kruse dolls are adorable – period! These dolls are handcrafted in Germany from natural materials and as I mentioned, they are really adorable!

Preschool Toys

Victorian Doll House, by Plan Toys  This is a great option if you have lots of room and want a big doll house. There is also an extra floor you can add to make this 4 floors of fun! The only downside is you need to purchase the dolls and furniture separately.

The Green Dollhouse, by Plan Toys is a smaller scale house that comes with furniture. Like all Plan Toys, it is made of all natural rubber wood, dyed with vegetable and soy dyes, and assembled with formaldehyde-free glue. This adorable house teaches eco-friendly practices with green features such as recycle bins, a wind turbine, rain barrel and solar panels.

Sprig Toys Story Builders Playset I’m holding out to get the Castle version for my daughter’s birthday since I’m maxed out on her Christmas. This is brilliant! My 3 year old has a big imagination and I love toys that will spark that. This is a configurable set to allow your child to make up stories. There are several sets: the castle, a barn yard, Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs. You can check out all 4 versions on the Sprig Toys Web site.

Plan Toy Balancing Cactus – This game gets my vote for safety of course, but also for promoting teamwork. You work together to add colorful pieces to the cactus without it falling over. The game promotes math skills and analytical thinking as you estimate the size and weight of each piece and determine the best placement to keep the game in play. It’s a great game where everyone is a winner.

Eco-Friendly Hand Puppets, by Cate and Levi Hand puppets are a fantastic way to encourage imagination. Just type ‘eco-friendly hand puppets’ into a Google search and these are the first ones that appear. And rightfully so, these puppets are colorful and fun! There are several animals to choose from and all are handmade in Canada, so each one is unique. All Cate and Levi products are handmade of reclaimed wool and are free from chemicals like flame retardants.

See also:
How to find eco-friendly toys
Toys made in the USA
Where to find eco-friendly toys in Birmingham, AL

Link Round-Up: Mommy blogger edition

This week I am picking my favorite posts from some other safety and eco-concious mommy bloggers.

SAFBaby has a great post on Eco-Smart pest control. A great botanical based insecticide system for all your pest control needs. Read more.

Safemama has a great “Dear SafeMama” edition this week on having a green baby shower. How do you avoid (or reduce chances) of getting baby gear and products laced with parabens, BPA, etc.? SafeaMama turns to its readers to get some really great tips for proper etiquette on having a green baby shower. Read more.

The Softlanding has researched and reported back as to which International Playthings are BPA, PVC and phthalate free. Thanks Alicia! And as always, do check www.healthytoys.org to make sure the toys are also free of lead and other ickies. Read more.

Tiffany at Naturemoms.com/blog has a great post and giveaway for Yummy in My Tummy gourmet and organic baby food. My baby is 5 months old, so I am going to have to check this stuff out. I will me making my own (you know in my “spare” time) but I have to bring the unopened, packaged stuff to daycare, so this may fit that bill. Tiffany and her 2 kids gave this product 6 thumbs up! Plus the packaging is free of all kids of icky things, including BPA. Read more.

Related Articles
Kirkland (Costco) baby wipes contain hazardous ingredient
Cloth Baby Wipes Showdown
BPA free bottles, sippy cups, storage and more!
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers

Safety First for Holiday Toys – USA Today

A USA Today article today discussed the challenge of finding safe toys this holiday season. The government recently passed a law which would ban some toxic substances from children’s products, however, the ban does not take effect until February 10, 2008, allowing retailers and manufacturers to sell off toys this Christmas Season that do not meet the new standards.

Unfortunately, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said they will allow toys containing phthalates, one of the newly banned chemicals that affects the reproductive system, to be sold indefinitely. (I find it ironic they have “safety” in their name when they make a decision like this.)

Luckily, many reliable toys manufacturers already meet these new standards, and wooden toys are making a comeback as well. You can see some of these manufacturers and a list of toys that are lead, phthalate and BPA-free here. Other companies, like Fisher-Price, can’t tell you which, if any, of their toys are free of any of these substances.

Shop smart! My list of non-toxic toys and my Amazon store are great places to start.

Related Articles
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
Non-Toxic Toys for Christmas

Some toys with banned substances will stay on market

As always, there are loopholes in legislation that appears to be a good thing. In August, President Bush signed into law a ban on lead, cadmium and phthalates in products marketed to children under 12 years of age.

The reduction in the amount of lead that will be considered safe on Feb 10, 2009 will remain in place and any children’s product with lead levels higher than the safe amount on Feb 10 will be treated as a hazardous product.

So what about phthalates? For some reason, these will be treated differently. That reason is purley an economical one. But products containing the banned phthalates will still be found on shelves and legally sold as long as the product was produced prior to the Feb 10, 2009 date.

Read the entire article from the Washington Post.

So what is a parent to do?

1. Avoid plastic toys, especially vinyl ones where phthalates are typically found.

2. Read labels. Some manufacturers may label the product phthalate-free. If not, don’t buy.

3. Visit my safe toys list and find manufacturers who no longer use phthalates.

4. Opt for safer personal care products, like California Baby to avoid phthalates in the bath.

5. Look for a manufacturing date on the product before you buy it. If one is not listed, do not buy it.

Related Articles
California Baby line product review
Safe toys for Christmas
BPA and phthalate free teethers
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers

Dolls for Christmas — PVC and Phthalate free!

SAFbaby has done a little research to find PVC and phthalate free dolls – and just in time for Christmas!

There are a few manufactures they list that use vinyl to make their dolls, but they are phthalate free. Certainly a great step, but as the article points out, lead has been found in several products using PVC. SAFbaby recommends erring on the side of caution and going PVC and vinyl free. In any case, those manufacturers using phthalate free vinyl are:
• Kathe Kruse
• Keptin-Jr
• Corolle
• Zapf Creation

These are the vinyl and phthalate free dolls SAFbaby recommends. They are all cloth dolls and easy to clean.

Paola Soft Doll by Haba
Waldorf Flippippi Fortune Fairy by Kathe Kruse
The Earth Friends Doll Raji
BabiCorolle Sorbet Melodie Doll
Keptin Jr – Organic Cotton Doll
 
Other cloth dolls I am aware of include (though note I am still contacting manufacturers to be sure they are free of other toxins):

Pottery Barn Kids Dolls and their Baby Dolls (though note, these are spot washable only, however cute they are)

Sweet Dolly by Baby Gund (my daughter has been attached to this doll for 2 years, since about 7 months old. She holds up very well in the washing machine.)

Flippippi Fortune Butterfly Red
by Kathe Kruse 

Baby Stella by Manahattan Toy

Whatever doll you choose, SAFbaby recommends contacting manufacturers to be sure the dolls are not treated with flame retardants, are free of heavy metals, and are painted with safe/non-toxic paints.

SAFbaby also told me they updated their post. They pointed out that even cloth dolls may not be free of phthalates. Some are stuffed with plastic pellets. Some pellets are made with PE which is a safe plastic and others PVC, which is not safe, so be sure you know what the doll is made of — inside and out!

Related Articles
Non-toxic toys for Christmas
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and more
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
Lead and PVC free lunch boxes
Lead in Christmas lights

Lead and Phthalate free, Non-toxic toys for Christmas, updated

Last updated: November 20, 2008

Because Christmas is right around the corner and the new bill protecting children from lead and phthalates will not go into effect until February 10, 2009, I am taking it upon myself to search for safe toys for Christmas 2008.

Here is the list I have come up with and will continue to add to it as I find new toys that meet the standards of being lead and phthalate free. If a toy has any of these toxins, I will not list them. I also did my best to steer clear of anything that contains BPA. Please note there are millions and millions of toys out there, so this is in no way a comprehensive list. If you are aware of another toy that is free of ALL lead, phthalates and BPA, please comment (along with a website or other evidence you may have if available) and I will add it to the list. Also, I will not list the obvious, like stuffed animals or books, but will do my best to include the obvious categories.

Also, some companies do have toys made with phthalate-free PVC. I have listed these and made a note by those toys. Although it would be great to avoid PVC altogether, as PVC can contain lead. 

Most of the products are linked so you can read reviews, get more information and even purchase online.

Brands who are promising that all their toys are lead and phthalate free:
Edushape
Haba
Kids Give
Lamaze Baby Toys
Lego Systems 
Little Tykes 
Lisa LeLeu 
Melissa & Doug (wood and plush toys) 
Mudpuppy 
Plan Toys 
Publications International 
Sckoon 
Selecta
Step 2
 
Tiny Love 
Under the Nile  

Art supplies/Crafts
(note: many art supplies, including Play Doh, contain trace amounts of arsenic. I did not list these products in the list. Unfortunately, it makes for a shorter list)
EcoTots Art time easel
Melissa and Doug Deluxe Easel
Melissa and Doug Paints
KidKraft Deluxe Easel
Leaf Press by Selecta
Organic Crafts (book), by Kimberly Monaghan
Plant colored pastel crayons

Blocks
Deluxe Jumbo Cardboard Blocks, Melissa & Doug
Mega Blocks
Legos   (all systems including Duplo)
Edushape (They had these at my daughter’s daycare and they are great! They are flexible so perfect for toddlers just learning to play with connecting type blocks.)
Kapla Wood Building Set
Wooden Animal Nesting Blocks, Melissa & Doug

Books
LIttle leaf house book, HABA

Cars/Vehicles
Automoblox mini’s (3 pack)
Automoblox vehicles
Baby Car, Plan Toys
Bulldozer Chunky Wooden Truck, FAO Schwartz
Cement Mixer Chunky wooden truck, FAO Scwartz
Discover Rig, Sprig Toys
Dump truck chunky wooden truck, FAO Schwartz
Firetruck Chuncky wooden truck, FAO Schwartz
Side Kick Vehicle, Rally Racer, Sprig Toys
Road Contruction Set, Plan Toys

Dolls
Babipouce Grenadine – 12″ Cloth Doll by Corolle 
BabiCorolle Sorbet Melodie Doll 
All Dolls by Corolle (made of PVC-free vinyl), including Tidoo, Calin, Chouquette Eva, and Poupette Lili  These dolls are all just BEAUTIFUL
Baby Stella by Manahattan Toy
Flippippi Fortune Butterfly Red by Kathe Kruse 
Kathe Kruse Dolls (some cloth, some PVC vinyl)
Keptin-Jr Dolls (some cloth, some PVC vinyl)
Keptin Jr – Organic Cotton Doll
Paola Soft Doll by Haba
Pottery Barn Kids Dolls and their Baby Dolls (though note, these are spot washable only, however cute they are)
Sweet Dolly by Baby Gund
The Earth Friends Doll Raji
Waldorf Flippippi Fortune Fairy by Kathe Kruse
Zapf Creation Dolls (made of PVC-free vinyl)

Whatever doll you choose, be sure the dolls are not treated with flame retardants, are free of heavy metals, and are painted with safe/non-toxic paints.

Games
Bamboo Art, ages 18 months+
Battelo (memory and strategy game, age 4+, made of Bamboo)
Cagola Balancing Game, Bamboo Collection, ages 4+
Colora Magnetic Design, Bamboo Collection
Dominos, Bamboo Collection
Hasbro Bamboo Matching game (I saw at Wal-Mart, but cannot find online anywhere. It’s cute though.)
Natural Wood Memory Game by Selecta

Interactive Toys
Battino Pounding Bench, Selecta
City Beads (wood), Wonderworld
Click Clack by Plan Toys
Click Clack Ball Track by HABA
Hammer Balls by Plan Toys
Pounding Tower, Plan Toys
Ryan the Zebra Activity Center, by K’s Kids 
Wood Baby Gym, Selecta
Wooden Ball Track Set by Selecta

Kitchen Sets
Guidecraft Deluxe Kitchen 
Guidecraft Wooden Kitchen
Plan Toys Kitchen Center
Plan Toys Kitchen Set
Pink stove top by Plan Toys and Red stove top
Dishwasher by Plan Toys
Refrigerator
by Plan Toys
Melissa and Doug Classic Deluxe Kitchen


Musical Instruments
Banjo, Plan Toys
Deluxe Band Set, Melissa and Doug
Drum Set, Plan Toys
Pine wood train whistle, maple and Marks
Hohner harmonica, Rosie’s Hippo
Mini Red Piano, Schylling
Melissa and Doug Band in a Box
Oval Xylophone, Plan Toys

Push/Pull Toys
Bird Family Pull Toy, Rosie’s Hippo
Circo Pull Toy, HABA
Dancing Alligator, Plan Toys
Frolicking Frog Wooden Pull Toy, Melissa and Doug
Trotto Wooden Push Toy by Selecta
Mini Pull along Giraffe by Sevi
Natural Wood Push Toy, Pedella, by Selecta
Sorting Train, Plan Toys
Walk and Roll, Plan Toys
Wooden Chomp and Clack Alligator Push Toy, Melissa and Doug
Zoo Animals Pull Along, Melissa and Doug

Play Food/Cookware
Alex Toys Deluxe Cooking Set
Bambu Kids Cooking Utensils
Erzi play food: Erzi Assorted Vegetables Box; Erzi Assorted Fruit Box; Erzi Assorted VegetablesErzi Assorted Fruit; Erzi Assorted Fruit Box Tropical FruitsErzi Assorted Tropical Fruits 
Learning Resources – Made of PVC and polyethylene, but is lead and phthalate free
Lunch With Friends” wood tea party set by Djeco
Melissa and Doug: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Play Food – 10 Piece Set; Melissa & Doug Sandwich making set; Melissa and Doug Deluxe Wooden Spice Rack Set; Melissa and Doug Cutting Food Box
Melissa and Doug Food Groups; Melissa and Doug Pizza Party; Melissa and Doug Birthday Cake; Sushi 
Plan Toys: Fruit and Vegetables, Breakfast Menu (with tray), Birthday Cake with candles, Vegetable pairs 
Plan Toys Toaster
Plan Toys Microwave
Shopping cart by Plan Toys
Cookware set by Plan Toys
Tableware set by Plan Toys
Tea set (wood), Plan Toys
Tupperware Childs Kids Mini Baking Set
Tupperware Kids Cake Taker, Plates, & Spatula
Tupperware Kids Mini Party Set with Mini Cake Taker

Playmat (Infant Activity Mat)
Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe – Lights & Music  
Wood Play Gym by Selecta

Pretend Play – Barn
Farm Animals, Plan Toys
Folding Barn, Melissa and Doug
Folding Horse Stable, Melissa and Doug
Plan Toys Country Barn
Plan Toys Wood barn

Pretend Play – Castles
Dragonstone Castle With Inhabitants  by Haba
Princess Castle by Melissa and Doug
Folding Midevil Castle by Melissa and Doug 
Dolls for Melissa and Doug Play Castles

Pretend Play – Playhouse
Neat & Tidy Cottage by Step2 (my daughter LOVES this house)
Daisy’s Market, Djeco

Pretend Play – Dollhouse
Plan Toys Chalet Dollhouse with furniture
Plan Toys My First Dollhouse
Plan Terrace Dollhouse
Plan Toys Contemporary Dollhouse
Plan Toys Victorian Dollhouse (I want this one!)
Plan Toys Modern Dollhouse
Colonial Dollhouse by Plan Toys
Deluxe Wooden Furnished Dollhouse, Melissa and Doug
Dollhouse furniture by Plan Toys
Dollhouse Furniture, Melissa and Doug
Farm House, Plan Toys
Fold and Go Dollhouse, Melissa and Doug
Victorian Dollhouse, Melissa and Doug
Wooden Doll Family for Dollhouse, Melissa and Doug

Pretend Play – Other
Children’s Broom, Camden Rose
Pet and accessories, Plan Toys
Plan City Parking Garage
Pirate Ship, Plan Toys
Tree House, Plan Toys
Doctor’s kit, HABA

Puzzles
Animal Alphabet, Imagiplay (3D puzzle)
Clutching Puzzle Sunny Land by haba 
Counting Bunnies 3D puzzle
Melissa & Doug wood sound puzzles
Nativity Puzzle, Imagiplay (3D puzzle)
Wood Animal Puzzle by Selecta

Riding Toys
4×4 WD Adventure Car, Plan Toys
Arabian Rocking Horse by Plan Toys 
Lights and sound fire engine, Wonderworld
Pony rocking horse by Plan Toys
Puffy Dragon Ride On, Wonderworld
Rocking Cater, Wonderworld
Sports Car by Plan Toys (this is super cute!)
Trike Rider by Brio

Sports/Interactive
Wooden Bowling Set by Sevi 
Ball Track Roll ‘N Roll ‘N Roll by Haba  

Stacking Toys
Fun Stacker, Plan Toys
German Stacking Tower, HABA
Monkey Ring Stacker, miYim
Rainbow Tower, HABA
Rokkolina Wood Stacking Toy, Selecta (cute flower pot design)
Stacking Rings, Plan Toys
Witty Worm Stacker, Rosie’s Hippo
Wooden Rainbow Stacking Tower, Nunoorganic
Rocky Color Cone, Holgate Toys 

Stuffed Animals
Andrew the Hippo, miYim Organic
Baby Victoria the Bunny, miYim Organic
Chikos the Hen, Deglingos
Cuddlekin Bunny Molly, HABA
Natural Friends Sheep Musical Toy 
Pikos the Hedgehog, Deglingos
Ronronos the Cat, Deglingos
Sandwich Striped Cat Doll by Blabla
Solid Red Goose, Lana Organic
White Goose, Lana Organic

Teethers for Baby
Please see my post here: BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles

Tools
Handyman Tool Box (wood), Wonderworld
My first tool set, Educo

Trains, Vehicles and other accessories
Alex Activity Mat
Brio
Maple and Marks
Melissa and Doug 
Plan Toys
Super City Wooden Railways from Heros! 

Companies with no phthalates (PVC) – Note: I have not yet determined if they are making the same claim for being lead-free. Also note that not all Evenflo, Gerber or Sassy products are BPA free.
Brio 
Chicco 
Evenflo 
Gerber 
International Playthings
Sassy 

Watch for these companies:
Leap Frog (Phthalate-free; some toys contain PVC; most packaging in boxes) 
Manhattan Toy (Use phthalate-free PVC)
Vtech (Use phthalate-free PVC) 
Sassy (Use phthalate-free PVC (since 2000), working to eliminate BPA and eventually, PVC) 
Fisher Price (Frequently use PVC (including teething rings), only toys for kids under age 3 are phthalate-free)
Mattel (Frequently use PVC) 
Playskool (Frequently use PVC)
Baby Einstein /Disney /Kids II (Frequently use PVC)
KidKraft (Claims all painted toys will have some amount of lead, anything wood is fine)
Especially for Baby @ Babies R Us (Geoffrey Inc.) (Frequently use PVC, including teething rings)

Gaming Consoles
XBox and Playstation 3 contain high levels of phthalates, though they are NOT considered toys so will not be affected by the new law banning phthalates in children’s products. Read more about it here.

Another cool site with eco-friendly toys is http://www.euphoriababy.com/

Please check back as I will be updating this post until Christmas is here! Happy shopping!

For more information or to research specific toys not listed, visit these sites:
http://www.healthytoys.org/product.searchtype.php
http://toyportfolio.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/update-complying-companies/
 
Related Articles
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and more
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
Have we found the cause of SIDS?
Lead and PVC free lunch boxes
Lead in Christmas lights

Health tips for raising a green baby

I thought this was a great little article about how to raise a green baby. Of course, this is just for starters, but great first steps!

UNDATED (WJRT) — (09/15/08)–At some point during pregnancy, most parents worry about the world they’re bringing their child into, and being eco-friendly is topping a lot of priority lists right now.
If you are worried about keeping it “green” when you have a baby, we have some tips for parents and parents-to-be:

1) Cloth Diapers: Disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose and every day, 50 million of these go into landfills in the United States. Disposables are convenient, it’s true, but cloth diapers have come a long way. Some cloth diapers are just like the kind you remember — layered flat diapers that you fold up onto the baby and secure with a safety pin. But there are many more options out there. There are pre-fold diapers, pocket diapers, fitted diapers, contour diapers and even all-in-one (AIO) diapers. The only extra time it takes is to wash the diapers. Another benefit — cloth diapers cause fewer (if any) diaper rashes than disposables, and some moms swear babies are easier to potty-train with cloth diapers than disposables.

2) Make your Own Baby Wipes: In the United States, 5,000 baby wipes are used per baby. Try making your own to cut back on waste. Cut pieces from cotton or flannel clothing or other material and sew the edges to prevent fraying. For the wipe solution, come up with your own variation, or try this one from babysabode.com: 
2 cups distilled water    
2-3 drops of tea tree oil (antiseptic and cleansing qualities)
1 T. your favorite baby oil  
2-3 drops of lavender oil (for its soothing qualities)
2 tsp. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hemp Soap  

3) Breastfeed! It’s common sense, really. Breastfeeding is better for the health of the baby, the health of the mother and the health of the environment. 

4) Buy Organic Cotton Products: Here are a few reasons you may want to think twice before buying traditionally grown cotton. The chemicals used on cotton are among the most toxic substances used in farming; the runoff from irrigation seeps into our drinking water. Commercial cotton farming uses about 3 percent of the farmland but consumes 25 percent of the chemical pesticides and fertilizers. In the United States, about 600,000 tons of pesticides and chemical fertilizers are applied to cotton fields each season. Organic cotton is just a healthier choice. Organic crib mattresses and organic sheets are also green steps to consider.

5) Clean Smarter! Wash baby’s clothes in cold water, hang them to dry and try a simple homemade detergent of baking soda and vinegar. Or, if that’s too “homemade,” find an environmentally safe laundry detergent.

6) Make your own baby food: Making your own food not only eliminates tons (literally) of glass baby food jars, but it’s also a lot cheaper. (We know you can recycle glass, but recycling uses energy too!) Simply buy regular food that your family would eat and serve it to baby. The food may need to be blended to a soft consistency. Blend up a week’s worth of “meals” and store them in baby-size reusable containers in the freezer. Feeding baby organic food is also cheaper if done this way, by using frozen organic fruits and veggies, which are cheaper than their fresh counterparts.

7) Other Tips: Use plain old (chemical-free) olive oil as baby oil/lotion for your little one; buy baby items second-hand or swap with other parents; go online and find ways to make your own baby goods (i.e. diapers, breast pads, toys and baby clothes); and choose old-fashioned wooden, organic cotton or homemade toys.

Related Articles
Lead and phthalate free toys for Christmas
Cloth baby wipes showdown
BPA free bottles and sippies
BPA and phthalate free teethers and pacifiers

California Baby Care line product review

Lead and Phthalate-free Toys for Christmas

View update here.

Last updated: September 29, 2008

Because Christmas is right around the corner and the new bill protecting children from lead and phthalates will not go into effect until February 20, 2009, I am taking it upon myself to search for safe toys for Christmas 2008.

Here is the list I have come up with and will continue to add to it as I find new toys that meet the standards of being lead and phthalate free. If a toy has any of these toxins, I will not list them. I also did my best to steer clear of anything that contains BPA. Please note there are millions and millions of toys out there, so this is in no way a comprehensive list. If you are aware of another toy that is free of ALL lead, phthalates and BPA, please comment (along with a website or other evidence you may have if available) and I will add it to the list. Also, I will not list the obvious, like stuffed animals or books, but will do my best to include the obvious categories.

Also, some companies do have toys made with phthalate-free PVC. I have listed these and made a note by those toys. Although it would be great to avoid PVC altogether, as PVC can contain lead. 

Most of the products are linked so you can read reviews, get more information and even purchase online.

Brands who are promising that all their toys are lead and phthalate free:
Edushape
Haba
Kids Give
Lamaze Baby Toys
Lego Systems 
Little Tykes 
Lisa LeLeu 
Melissa & Doug (wood and plush toys) 
Mudpuppy 
Plan Toys 
Publications International 
Sckoon 
Step 2 
Tiny Love 
Under the Nile  

Art supplies/Crafts
(note: many art supplies, including Play Doh, contain trace amounts of arsenic. I did not list these products in the list. Unfortunately, it makes for a shorter list)
Melissa and Doug Deluxe Easel
Melissa and Doug Paints
KidKraft Deluxe Easel

Blocks
Mega Blocks
Legos   (all systems including Duplo)
Edushape (They had these at my daughter’s daycare and they are great! They are flexible so perfect for toddlers just learning to play with connecting type blocks.)
Kapla Wood Building Set

Dolls
Babipouce Grenadine – 12″ Cloth Doll by Corolle 
Tidoo Bright Doll, bath doll that really floats! by Corolle (my daughter is getting this for C-mas — this doll is BEAUTIFUL)
All Dolls by Corolle, including Tidoo, Calin, Chouquette Eva, and Poupette Lili  These dolls are all just BEAUTIFUL
Sandwich Striped Cat Doll by Blabla

Games
Hasbro Bamboo Matching game (I saw at Wal-Mart, but cannot find online anywhere. It’s cute though.)

Kitchen Sets
Guidecraft Deluxe Kitchen 
Guidecraft Wooden Kitchen
Plan Toys Kitchen Center
Plan Toys Kitchen Set
Pink stove top by Plan Toys and Red stove top
Dishwasher
by Plan Toys
Refrigerator
by Plan Toys
Melissa and Doug Classic Deluxe Kitchen


Musical Instruments
Pine wood train whistle, maple and Marks
Hohner harmonica, Rosie’s Hippo
Melissa and Doug Band in a Box

Push/Pull Toys
Bird Family Pull Toy, Rosie’s Hippo
Trotto Wooden Push Toy by Selecta
Mini Pull along Giraffe by Sevi

Play Food/Cookware
Alex Toys Deluxe Cooking Set
Bambu Kids Cooking Utensils
Erzi play food: Erzi Assorted Vegetables Box; Erzi Assorted Fruit Box; Erzi Assorted VegetablesErzi Assorted Fruit; Erzi Assorted Fruit Box Tropical FruitsErzi Assorted Tropical Fruits 
Learning Resources – Made of PVC and polyethylene, but is lead and phthalate free
Lunch With Friends” wood tea party set by Djeco
Melissa and Doug: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Play Food – 10 Piece Set; Melissa & Doug Sandwich making set; Melissa and Doug Deluxe Wooden Spice Rack Set; Melissa and Doug Cutting Food Box
Melissa and Doug Food Groups; Melissa and Doug Pizza Party; Melissa and Doug Birthday Cake; Sushi 
Plan Toys: Fruit and Vegetables, Breakfast Menu (with tray), Birthday Cake with candles, Vegetable pairs 
Plan Toys Toaster
Plan Toys Microwave
Shopping cart by Plan Toys
Cookware set by Plan Toys
Tableware set by Plan Toys
Tupperware Childs Kids Mini Baking Set
Tupperware Kids Cake Taker, Plates, & Spatula
Tupperware Kids Mini Party Set with Mini Cake Taker

Playmat (Infant Activity Mat)
Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe – Lights & Music  

Pretend Play (castles, playhouses, dollhouses, etc.)
Dragonstone Castle With Inhabitants  by Haba
Neat & Tidy Cottage by Step2 (my daughter LOVES this house)
Plan Toys Country Barn
Plan Toys Wood barn
Plan Toys Chalet Dollhouse with furniture
Plan Toys My First Dollhouse
Plan City Parking Garage
Plan Terrace Dollhouse
Plan Toys Contemporary Dollhouse
Plan Toys Victorian Dollhouse (I want this one!)
Plan Toys Modern Dollhouse
Colonial Dollhouse by Plan Toys
Dollhouse furniture by Plan Toys
Princess Castle by Melissa and Doug
Folding Midevil Castle by Melissa and Doug 
Dolls for Melissa and Doug Play Castles

Puzzles
Clutching Puzzle Sunny Land by haba 
Melissa & Doug wood sound puzzles

Riding Toys
Arabian Rocking Horse by Plan Toys 
Pony rocking horse by Plan Toys
Sports Car by Plan Toys (this is super cute!)
Trike Rider by Brio

Sports/Interactive
Wooden Bowling Set by Sevi 
Ball Track Roll ‘N Roll ‘N Roll by Haba  

Stacking Toys
Witty Worm Stacker, Rosie’s Hippo
Wooden Rainbow Stacking Tower, Nunoorganic
Rocky Color Cone, Holgate Toys 

Teethers for Baby
Please see my post here: BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles

Trains, Vehicles and other accessories
Alex Activity Mat
Brio
Maple and Marks
Melissa and Doug 
Plan Toys
Super City Wooden Railways from Heros! 

Companies with no phthalates (PVC) – Note: I have not yet determined if they are making the same claim for being lead-free. Also note that not all Evenflo, Gerber or Sassy products are BPA free.
Brio 
Chicco 
Evenflo 
Gerber 
International Playthings
Sassy 

Watch for these companies:
Leap Frog (Phthalate-free; some toys contain PVC; most packaging in boxes) 
Manhattan Toy (Use phthalate-free PVC)
Vtech (Use phthalate-free PVC) 
Sassy (Use phthalate-free PVC (since 2000), working to eliminate BPA and eventually, PVC) 
Fisher Price (Frequently use PVC (including teething rings), only toys for kids under age 3 are phthalate-free)
Mattel (Frequently use PVC) 
Playskool (Frequently use PVC)
Baby Einstein /Disney /Kids II (Frequently use PVC)
KidKraft (Claims all painted toys will have some amount of lead, anything wood is fine)
Especially for Baby @ Babies R Us (Geoffrey Inc.) (Frequently use PVC, including teething rings)

Gaming Consoles
XBox and Playstation 3 contain high levels of phthalates, though they are NOT considered toys so will not be affected by the new law banning phthalates in children’s products. Read more about it here.

Another cool site with eco-friendly toys is http://www.euphoriababy.com/

Please check back as I will be updating this post until Christmas is here! Happy shopping!

For more information or to research specific toys not listed, visit these sites:
http://www.healthytoys.org/product.searchtype.php
http://toyportfolio.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/update-complying-companies/
 
Related Articles
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and more
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
Have we found the cause of SIDS?
Lead and PVC free lunch boxes
FDA: Lead found in vitamins
Lead in the garden hose
Lead in Christmas lights

Sassy clears up which products are BPA-free

I was just looking at Z Recs blog and noticed they had an update from Sassy on which of their products do and do not contain BPA. Z Recs had received several comments from readers where different websites listed certain Sassy products as BPA-free and others listed the same product as containing BPA. So they asked Sassy to clarify, thanks Z Recs!

Turns out, some products Sassy previously said were BPA-free are not. Dissapointing, yet kudos to Sassy for coming out and clarifying.

Here is the list. Z Rec’s blog also has an image of all these products on their blog.

The following items were previously reported by Sassy as BPA-free, but are now reported to contain BPA:

Feeding products

  • Snack Time Infa-Trainer Cup
  • Color Change Fork and Spoon
  • Color Change Infant Feeding Spoon
  • Extra Gentle Soft Tip Spoon
  • Flexi Grip Toddler Spoon and Fork
  • Ideal Temp Feeding Spoon
  • EZ Grip Feeding Bowls with utensils

Bath Toys

  • Soft Ducky
  • Squirting Sea Pals
  • Boogie Board Buddy

The following additional items were previously reported to ZRecs as being free of PVC, but actually contain it (although they are still reported to be free of phthalates as well as BPA):

  • Bathtime Kitchen Sink
  • Car Wash
  • Counting Bath Time Bucket
  • Gator Boat
  • Snap and Squirt Sea Creatures

Two items were not included in this materials list, and ZRecs is seeking confirmation of their status:

  • Gummy Guppy Teether
  • Al-i-Sorter
  • Related Articles
    BPA free bottles, sippy cups and more
    BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
    BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles

    BornFree introduces BPA, PVC and phthalate free pacifeir
    Lead and PVC free lunch boxes
    Avent introduces BPA free bottle
    BPA in canned food
    How to avoid BPA
    BPA in infant formula
    BPA linked to metobolic syndrome
    New research links BPA to human disease

    Government says no more lead in toys — but not until after the holiday season

    All children’s products must be compliant with the new govermental standards for lead content by Feb 10, 2009, so a little late for safe and confident Christmas shopping.

    This means companies can still seel their lead-containing toys until Feb 10, but they must be removed from the shelves in the US after that. Now, I wonder who will monitor that? Honor system? We know how well that worked…

    Anyway, what many may not know about the law is this:

    The new lead limit is part of a sweeping product safety measure that became law Aug. 14. The law stipulates that by Feb. 10, children’s products can not have a total lead content above 600 parts per million. Six months later, that limit drops to 300 ppm and then to 100 ppm in three years if feasible.

    So this year, buy with caution. Read the entire article here from the Washington Post.

    Please check back for more on this topic and where to find safe toys this Christmas season.

    Related Articles
    Lead and phthalate free toys for Christmas
    BPA free bottles, sippy cups and more
    BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
    BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles

    Lead and PVC free lunch boxes
    Toxins found in crib mattresses may cause health problems

    Follow

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 106 other followers