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Holiday Shopping: Safe Toy Tips

Posted by SAFER States on Nov 21, 2012


Mom and Child toy shopping.

After the turkey is in the fridge and all the dishes are done, many will begin to prepare for Black Friday—the busiest shopping day of the year. If you are a Black Friday shopper, chances are that you will be buying toys for the kids in the family.

But before you do so, you may want to take a moment or two to consider what we reported on last week: the leadership organization that oversees toy manufacturing does not have your childrens' best interest at heart. Rather, they are most concerned with protecting the bottom line of a $21.2 billion industry.

While we at Safer States are working on the state level to pass laws which will protect children from toxic chemicals in toys and other products, there are a few things that you, as a consumer can do:

  1. Look for toys that are labeled BPA and phthalate free. This will help make sure that your children are protected from several of the worst-of-the-worst chemicals.
  2. Shop in stores (or on websites) that curate their products carefully. While it's hard to protect from all chemicals, at least shopping at stores that try and avoid bad chemicals will put some of the worry on the shopkeeper's shoulders instead of yours.
  3. Washington Toxics Coalition recommends that you avoid plastics, especially vinyl. Opt instead for unpainted wood toys, or something altogether different like books. You can read more of their tips here.

    Healthy Child, Healthy World's gift guide adds the following advice: "If you can’t bring yourself to abandon plastics entirely, choose safer plastics labeled 1,2,4 or 5 in the symbol usually found at the bottom of the product."
  4. PIRG's Toy Safety Mobile Guide is a good thing to check out while you're out and about shopping. It has advice about recalled products, dangerous products, and toxic products.
  5. One additional tip that we'll leave you with: avoid inexpensive jewelry. You'll see this advice in some of the gift guides we linked to above. Inexpensive jewelry is often made of metals and metal paints which can contain extremely toxic materials that build up in childrens' systems and cause health issues—chemicals such as lead and cadmium.

If you'd like to take action to help make sure that we are all more informed about the toxic chemicals in our products, please join the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families "Say No to Joe Chemical" campaign which will let Congress know that we want them to reject the agenda of the chemical industry.

Happy Holidays, and best of luck with your products choices this year. We will continue to work hard to pass laws which will help you make more informed choices.