Safe Toys

Father’s Day was yesterday and it was nice. I made the hubby breakfast in bed in the morning, using his brand new “World’s Greatest Dad” coffee mug. As another small gift, I gave him a framed photo of Dominik wearing one of his daddy’s favorite shirts. I’m thinking that every year I’ll take a photo of Dominik wearing it. Later in the day we went to my mom’s house for dinner, so it was an overall mellow and relaxing day.

The past week or so, Dominik has really been trying to grasp items and brings everything to his mouth. I can see a few teeth trying to poke through on the bottom, so I imagine he is realizing that chewing makes it feel better. He is still too young, in my opinion, to try certain teething remedies (although I was thinking of getting an amber necklace) so I’ve been giving him things to chew. Most of baby items are made of plastic and I can’t help but think about how much of those chemicals are making their way into my baby’s body.
I get why baby’s toys would be made of plastic. It’s durable, cheap, colorful, and it won’t shatter so it’s safe in that sense. Plastics often contain phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors. This chemical has been linked to hormone imbalance, hyperactivity, cancer, and obesity. Because plastics with phthalates are flexible, these are often found in plastic teethers. Another endocrine disruptor you’ve probably heard of is BPA, but luckily this chemical is being phased out of baby products. However, just because most baby bottles don’t have BPA doesn’t mean the same rules apply to toys. BPA is most often in hard plastics and has been linked to behavioral issues as well as diabetes. Plastics have a number marking on the bottom of the product. Try to avoid #3 and #7 since these contain the above harmful endocrine disruptors.
Those are not the only chemicals in plastic or in toys in general. Soft toys are often treated with flame retardants or can “off gas” fumes from the production process. It seems like every synthetic chemical is being linked to or causes some kind of detrimental effect on the human body. Adults may be able to filter out chemicals more efficiently but kids and babies can accumulate things and retain them in their bodies in much higher quantities.
I know it’s nearly impossible to avoid all toxins, but I try to make smarter choices when purchasing toys and teethers for Dominik. Choosing teethers made of pure rubber or hospital grade silicone or toys made of wood and food safe paints/dyes. These items, particularly the wood toys are of much higher quality considering the materials used and the fact that these companies often have very strict regulations. They are more expensive, but I figure it’s better for Dominik to have a few safe, quality toys than mountains of cheap, toxic toys that don’t withstand the test of time.
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