For many people, the best part of the holiday season is watching the little ones excitedly tear open their presents. They’ll be grinning from ear to ear as they see their brand new toy they just unwrapped. As great as it is to see our children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews excited about these new toys, we should consider what toxic materials are inside them. Here’s how to avoid toxic toys this holiday season.

What to Avoid

First of all, it is unlikely that you can avoid every single product with toxic ingredients. However, trying to limit these purchases as best as you can is beneficial. 

Here is a list of some chemicals to be on the lookout for

  • BPA
  • PVC (vinyl)
  • Lead
  • Phthalates
  • Cadmium
  • Chlorine

Being aware of the toxins used in the toys for our children can help us advocate for more restrictions on what is used inside these toys.

Alternative Options

When it comes to plastics, there are actually many safer options to choose from. However, it is still best to find plastic-free toys made with materials such as unpainted wood, cloth, and paper. It’s important to note that if you’re opting for wooden toys to look for solid wood. Plywood or particle-board can contain formaldehyde and toxic glues.

In terms of stuffed toys, you should avoid ones with polyurethane foam. Toys made with this material often contain flame retardants. Instead, look for toys with polyester, down, wool, or cotton.

Be Careful With Hand-Me-Downs

We get it, it’s tempting to use a hand-me-down toy. But the age of the toy can change how dangerous it is for your children. Toys that were manufactured prior to 1978 could have lead and cadmium in the paint or plastic. 

If possible, try to find out the manufacturer of the toy and when this toy was made.

Stay Up to Date on Recalls

Being subscribed to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s email list can help inform you when certain toys are under recall.

Final Thoughts

It may be difficult to completely avoid all toxins in toys, but being a smart consumer can help us shape the future of toy manufacturing. At the end of the day, simply monitor your children’s behavior with toys and follow the age guidelines that the products suggest.